Preview: Brewers vs. Giants

Christian Yelich is expected to be back in Milwaukee’s starting lineup Friday night when the Brewers open a three-game series with the San Francisco Giants at Miller Park.

Brewers manager Craig Counsell rested the outfielder on Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs — Yelich’s first day off outside of scheduled team off days, since July 3.

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He has been an iron horse for Milwaukee ever since and has started all 42 games since the All-Star break while playing 387 of 391 innings during that stretch. The heavy workload has had little impact on his performance, either. He’s batting .357 in the second half with 16 home runs, 42 RBIs and a 1.134 OPS.

Still, Counsell chose to give Yelich a breather with the hope of keeping him as close to 100 percent as possible for the stretch run.

“It was time. He needs a day off,” Counsell said. “(Resting him Friday) was certainly in the conversation, but we got to the point (Tuesday) night where he needs a day off.”

Yelich singled in a ninth-inning, pinch-hit appearance Wednesday night, extending his hitting streak to six games and his on-base streak to 22 games — the longest active streak in the National League.

“Look, this is a guy who has played every day. There’s not many guys playing every day like this,” Counsell said. “We just reached a point when he needs a day. … Friday was a thought, but we just reached a day where it has to be today. He’ll be ready to go on Friday.”

The Brewers squandered a golden opportunity to get back into the National League Central with a sloppy loss to the Cubs on Wednesday night. Now four games back of the division leaders with 21 to play, the Brewers’ most likely path to postseason play is through the wild card, a race they lead by a half-game over the Cardinals.

They’ll have another chance at the Cubs next week but can’t get caught looking past the Giants.

“Regardless if we ended up winning or losing (Wednesday), we still have a lot of games left to play,” veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson said. “We have the Giants coming in this weekend and they’re going to play who they have to play.

“Win or lose, the season doesn’t end today. We still have to come back, reset from whatever happened, enjoy the off day like we’re going to do and then get ready to play on Friday.”

Milwaukee will face yet another left-handed starter in Derek Holland, who has held his four opponents to no more than a run. That’s all the Mets could muster against Holland his last time out. He allowed four hits, three walks and struck out three over six innings of work but took no decision as the Giants fell, 2-1, in 11 innings.

Since moving back into the rotation from the bullpen in July, Holland is 5-3 with a 2.42 ERA.

“I’ve got a good staff helping me out and keeping me out on the field,” Holland told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Working with (Matt) Herges and Curt (Young), these guys have done a great job of putting me in different spots, going out of the pen and coming in as a starter. Moving me on the rubber, it’s all helping me.”

Friday will his second career start against the Brewers who counter with right-hander Chase Anderson.

Anderson beat the Giants earlier this season in San Francisco but will need to keep the ball in the park if he wants to improve to 2-0 against them in 2018.

He leads the National League with 28 home runs allowed this season but has not given up more than three earned runs in any of his 10 starts in which opponents don’t homer against him.