The Chicago Cubs haven't won three straight games in more than a month. They'll get a chance Saturday afternoon in the middle test of a three-game set versus the Milwaukee Brewers.
The teams enter the day tied for last place in the NL Central and the Cubs are a victory away from matching their win total from their horrible season in 2012. A win today would give Chicago its first three-game winning streak since July 26-28.
Jake Arrieta, who is coming off a strong outing Sunday against Philadelphia, starts for the Cubs. The right-hander will make his sixth start of the season for the Cubs since being acquired from Baltimore. In his most recent appearance, Arrieta gave up three hits and a run over 6 2/3 innings. He has no record with a 1.50 ERA in one career start against Milwaukee, and that came July 30 at Wrigley Field.
Johnny Hellweg, a 24-year-old righty, counters for the Brewers.
Hellweg was recalled on Tuesday from Triple-A Nashville. He's yet to win in four career major league appearances, including three starts. This will be his first outing since July 10 against Cincinnati. He was named the 2013 Brewers Minor League Pitcher of the Year after compiling a 12-5 mark and a 3.15 ERA over 23 starts.
In Friday's series opener, Junior Lake hit his first career grand slam and the Cubs beat the Brewers, 8-5. Chris Rusin, who had two RBI, gave up two runs on seven hits over 3 2/3 innings for the Cubs. Carlos Villanueva (5-8) tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief to pick up the win.
"I guess that kind of salvages the day," Rusin said of his two RBI. "I felt I was nibbling, and good hitters like they are, they'll take those pitches. You have to be able to attack the zone with other offspeed [pitches] on different sides of the plate, and I was struggling with my offspeed and trying to work with what I had."
Scooter Gennett hit a three-run homer for the Brewers, who have lost six of seven. Aramis Ramirez added a solo homer.
Kyle Lohse (9-9) got the start for Milwaukee and allowed seven runs on 11 hits over five innings.
"It was tough," Lohse said. "I couldn't get it going. It seemed like the first three or four hits were all on hanging sliders that I just didn't finish. It was a pretty big hole to put us in."
The Brewers lead the season series with Chicago, 8-5.