Ryan Braun and perhaps a few other key Brewers may be out again, but giving the ball to Kyle Lohse could keep Milwaukee rolling.
Lohse looks to extend his own winning streak to five games for the first time in six years Tuesday night and guide the Brewers to another victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Braun, who leads Milwaukee with a .318 average and six homers, has missed two games with a strained intercostal muscle, and could be out for at least two more – though manager Ron Roenicke indicated Braun will not go on the disabled list.
The former NL MVP, however, isn’t the only Brewer who’s hurting. Jean Segura missed his second straight game Monday because of a bruised cheek suffered when Braun’s bat inadvertently hit him in the dugout Saturday, and Aramis Ramirez left in the bottom of the seventh Monday with an elbow contusion after being hit by a pitch.
Both are considered day to day.
The Brewers (19-7) got by Monday despite their shortened bench. Khris Davis’ RBI triple provided the go-ahead run in the 12th inning as Milwaukee went on to win 5-3 for its eighth victory in 10 games.
”This win was huge,” Roenicke said. ”We got some big hits and we hung in there and battled.”
Turning to Lohse (4-1, 2.38 ERA) might be just what the Brewers need to get a third straight win over the Cardinals (14-13) for the first time since Aug. 3-10, 2011.
Lohse is trying to extend his own streak, as he’s won four straight starts behind a 2.00 ERA after allowing two runs – one earned – in seven innings of Wednesday’s 5-2 victory over San Diego. He hasn’t put together a longer stretch of winning starts since a career-high six in a row from May 24-June 20, 2008, as a member of the Cardinals.
The right-hander, though, has a 4.88 ERA while dropping three of his four starts against his former team since joining the Brewers last season. He especially struggled against Yadier Molina, who went 7 for 12 with three doubles and two homers in their matchups.
The Cardinals, losers of six of nine, counter with Lance Lynn (4-1, 3.30), who is looking to rebound from his first career loss in April.
The right-hander gave up three runs – two earned – with nine strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings of a 4-1 road defeat to the New York Mets on Thursday. He’s now 12-1 with a 2.62 ERA in 14 career starts in April, and that includes a pair of victories over Milwaukee while yielding one run and five hits with 19 strikeouts in 13 2-3 innings.
Lynn is 2-0 with a 0.47 ERA, fanning 28 batters in 19 1-3 innings, over his last three overall starts against the Brewers. That includes yielding three hits with 11 strikeouts in seven innings of a 4-0 road victory on April 14.
With Braun, Ramirez and Segura all iffy, the Brewers would love to see Scooter Gennett continue his brief success against Lynn and the Cardinals. He’s 4 for 8 with two doubles and three walks in 11 plate appearances against Lynn, and owns a .380 average in 13 career meetings with St. Louis.
The second baseman had two hits in the series opener, and he’s 8 for 18 in four games at Busch Stadium.
Molina, meanwhile, leads the Cardinals with a .344 average after also getting two hits Monday. He’s batting .379 in his last 16 home games against Milwaukee.