While Milwaukee looks to stay hot by continuing its success over the Chicago Cubs, the status of two of the club’s top players should have the Brewers concerned.
It’s possible both Ryan Braun and Jean Segura won’t be available Sunday when the Brewers try to sweep the three-game set from the Cubs, who hope to avoid a seventh consecutive road defeat.
Segura left Saturday’s 5-3 win in the first inning after he was inadvertently hit in the face by a bat swung by Braun while both were in the dugout. Segura needed stitches for a cut near his eye, but did not suffer a concussion or any fractures.
An All-Star in 2013 when he hit .294 with 12 homers and 49 RBIs, Segura is batting .239 this season and was 2 for 11 in three games prior to Saturday.
"Obviously, it’s never something that’s done intentionally," Braun said. "You know whenever you’re involved in a situation like that, I think it puts life in perspective and you realize how insignificant baseball is. Thank God from everything we’ve heard he’s OK."
Braun, meanwhile, was lifted in the ninth because off a slight muscle strain in his chest. Considered day to day, Braun is batting .521 (25 for 48) during a 12-game hitting streak versus Chicago.
The Brewers (18-6) are already without catcher Martin Maldonado, who will serve the final of his five-game suspension for his involvement in last Sunday’s brawl at Pittsburgh.
Milwaukee, however, didn’t skip a beat Saturday as Segura’s replacement Jeff Bianchi had two RBIs and Khris Davis homered in the team’s third straight victory and seventh in eight contests.
The Brewers have won seven of eight overall versus Chicago (7-16), and 24 of 29 at home.
Davis is 8 for 23 with three solo homers in his last five games. He’s 4 for 18 against the Cubs, but three of those hits left the park.
Milwaukee starter Wily Peralta (3-0, 2.19 ERA) has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of the four starts during his second full major league season. The right-hander, who yielded two earned runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 4-3 win over San Diego on Monday, has a 2.45 ERA while winning six straight home starts.
He went 2-2 with a 3.07 ERA in five starts against the Cubs last season, including 2-1 with a 2.55 ERA at home.
Taking the ball for Chicago is Jason Hammel (3-1, 2.60), who has been one of the few bright spots during his team’s rough start.
The right-hander has lasted seven innings in each of his last three outings, most recently Tuesday when he gave up a solo homer and three other hits in a 9-2 win over Arizona. Though five of Hammel’s eight runs allowed have come via solo homers, he has only yielded 14 hits and walked five over 27 2-3 innings.
"It’s simple math – if you don’t let anybody on base, you don’t give up runs," he told the Cubs’ official website. "You get yourself in a lot of trouble if you don’t throw strikes."
Hammel is 3-0 with a 2.88 ERA in four starts against the Brewers, but has not faced them since 2011 with Colorado.
Wellington Castillo hit a two-run homer Saturday for the Cubs, who hope to avoid their second five-game overall skid.
Teammate Anthony Rizzo is 0 for 8 with four strikeouts in the series, and 4 for 29 with 10 whiffs in his last seven at Miller Park. Rizzo, however, is 5 for 13 with a double and two homers versus Peralta.