Anderson hopes to lead Brewers to series win vs. Phillies

MILWAUKEE — Slowly but surely, Chase Anderson is reverting to the form that led to a breakout season a year ago.

The Milwaukee Brewers‘ right-hander returns to action Sunday afternoon to wrap up a three-game weekend series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Miller Park fresh off his best outing since opening day.

In Tuesday’s 4-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs, he allowed a hit and walked two in seven innings. He struck out six and earned his first win since May 21.

“It was Chase getting back to what we saw last year,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said “You could tell right away that his fastball, specifically, had a different gear tonight. Just by the hitters’ swings.”

Anderson went 12-4 with a 2.74 ERA in 25 starts a year ago, cementing his spot in Milwaukee’s rotation. Counsell tabbed the 30-year old to start the season opener and Anderson (5-5, 4.13 ERA this season) answered the call with six shutout innings against the San Diego Padres.

He’s been up and down since, posting a 5.03 ERA over 11 starts — with a two-week stint on the disabled list for illness mixed in — between Opening Day and Tuesday.

“My arm has been feeling pretty good overall,” Anderson said after facing Chicago. “Tonight, was the best I felt since I came back off the DL. It’s good to know that it’s still in the tank.”

Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola also comes into the game after a strong showing his last time out. Nola allowed one run and struck out 10 over 6 2/3 innings in Philadelphia’s 5-4 victory over the Rockies on Tuesday.

Nola (8-2, 2.27 ERA) is making a case to represent the Phillies in the All-Star Game next month, going 7-1 with a 2.30 ERA over his last 10 starts. He’s held opponents to a run or fewer in six of those outings and has allowed more than three runs once while striking out 75 batters with only 13 walks in 66 2/3 innings.

“He was exactly what we expected him to be, a guy who we can rely on,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “He’s a special kind of competitor.”

The Phillies will attempt to win their second straight series after losing seven of eight games. Philadelphia evened the series with a 4-1 victory despite striking out 14 times, stranding a season-high 15 runners and going 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position.

Rhys Hoskins hit a 431-foot homer and recorded three hits. He is 9-for-25 in seven games since returning from a broken jaw.

“Obviously, he set the tone with the big home run to left field,” Kapler said. “It is incredibly important for us to have him swinging the bat like he is.”

Milwaukee has scored at least 12 runs in three of its five meetings with the Phillies this season but has yet to face Nola, who’s 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA in four career starts against the Brewers. Nola also is 1-0 mark with a 2.08 ERA in two starts in Milwaukee.

Anderson, meanwhile, hasn’t enjoyed the same success facing Philadelphia. In four career starts, he’s 1-2 with a 5.85 ERA.

Sunday will mark Anderson’s first appearance against the Phillies since June 2, 2016 when he allowed a run on three hits while striking out six over 5 2/3 innings in a 4-1 Brewers victory at Citizens Bank Park.

A victory in the finale would give Milwaukee its third consecutive series victory and 15th of the season.