Scott Baker finally makes his return to the majors following Tommy John surgery today when he leads the Chicago Cubs against the Milwaukee Brewers in the finale of a three-game series.
Baker, a 31-year-old right-hander, has not pitched in a big league game since September 24, 2011 with Minnesota. He was signed by the Cubs as a free agent last November and made eight rehab starts between Single-A Daytona and Kane County. Baker struck out 16 hitters and had 10 walks.
Baker's 163 career appearances (159 starts) have all come with the Twins. His best season came in 2009, when he racked up 15 victories. He's 4-4 with a 5.29 ERA in eight career starts against the Brewers.
Yovani Gallardo, who is unbeaten in his last five starts, counters for the Brewers. The righty hasn't lost since July 25 against San Diego. He's coming off a seven-inning outing against the Pirates on Tuesday and didn't get a decision.
Gallardo was on the 15-day disabled list at the start of August due to tightness in his left hamstring. He is 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA in four starts since being reinstated. He's also 7-3 with a 3.25 ERA in 16 starts against the Cubs.
Logan Schafer's three-run triple highlighted a four-run fourth inning in Milwaukee's 5-3 win Saturday. Jonathan Lucroy had two hits while Johnny Hellweg (1-3) earned his first career win. The right-hander surrendered three runs on four hits across six innings for the Brewers, who have won two of their last three.
"As the innings went on, stuff got better, the location got better," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of Hellweg. "I thought he pitched more with his changeup and his breaking ball. Hopefully this is a guy we're going to see."
Jake Arrieta (2-2) lasted five innings and gave up three hits, four runs and three walks for the Cubs, who have dropped three of their last five. Luis Valbuena hit an early two-run homer in defeat.
"It's frustrating because there were a couple of pitches in there that cost me to give up four runs in that inning," Arrieta said. "I had an opportunity to go seven or eight innings today with maybe giving up one run."
A win today would keep Milwaukee's road series victory stretch intact. The Brewers entered this weekend 4-0-2 over their last six road series.
The Cubs have lost 13 of their last 20 games overall, while dropping 20 of their last 27 home games.
The Brewers lead the season series with Chicago, 9-5.