Brewers try for series split versus Mets (Jun 01, 2017)
NEW YORK -- A pair of starting pitchers looking to build off the momentum they generated last weekend square off Thursday afternoon, when the Milwaukee Brewers visit the New York Mets in the finale of a four-game series at Citi Field.
The Brewers dropped the first two games before earning a 7-1 victory Wednesday night.
Milwaukee (28-25) goes for the split behind right-handed pitcher Chase Anderson (3-1, 3.72 ERA). New York (23-28) counters with right-hander Zack Wheeler (3-2, 3.83).
Anderson is coming off one of his best starts of his major league career Saturday, when he earned the win after allowing one hit over seven shutout innings in the Brewers' 6-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. The 29-year-old carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning and was lifted after allowing a leadoff single to Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed on his career-high 114th pitch.
Pitchers throwing no-hitters have been lifted with lower pitch counts, but Brewers manager Craig Counsell said he had no problem letting Anderson at least open the eighth in pursuit of the gem.
"In that game, he worked hard in the first inning (Anderson walked two during a 22-pitch first) and then he was pretty smooth the rest," Counsell said. "For the most part, he had to work when he was his strongest and the rest was pretty smooth. For a 114-pitch outing, I thought it was kind of the way you wanted it to happen."
Counsell also wanted to see if Anderson could make history, The Brewers have thrown only one no-hitter -- Juan Nieves' gem in 1987 -- in their 49-season history.
"No-hitters -- they're life-changing for these guys, and I respect that," Counsell said. "I think you're doing everything you can to give a guy a chance to do it. At the same time, there's a (point) where it's your job to say no. That's how I approach it."
Wheeler capped a strong May on Saturday, when he didn't factor into the decision after giving up three runs over six innings as the Mets fell to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-4, in 10 innings. He left in line for the win before closer Addison Reed blew a one-run lead in the ninth inning.
Wheeler, who missed the previous two seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery, went 2-0 with a 2.74 ERA in four May starts as he emerged as the Mets' second-most reliable pitcher behind ace right-hander Jacob deGrom.
"Zack's obviously got some reps now, where he's starting to be comfortable," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Anderson is 0-2 with a 4.80 ERA in three career starts against the Mets. Wheeler is 1-0 with a 1.54 ERA in two career starts against the Brewers.
Milwaukee hopes the top of its lineup continues to produce after Eric Sogard and Eric Thames had big games in Wednesday's 7-1 victory. They went a combined 3-for-5 with five walks in 10 plate appearances with Thames driving in Sogard with his 14th home run of the season.
The teams conclude the regular season series Thursday. The Brewers swept the Mets in a three-game series at Miller Park from May 12-14.