The Milwaukee Brewers will turn to Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes when they host the Chicago Cubs in the rubber game of the three-game series on Wednesday afternoon.
The Cubs evened the series with an 8-3 victory on Tuesday night behind a homer from Seiya Suzuki — his second in two games since coming off the injured list. Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks came out after three innings due to right shoulder soreness.
Burnes (7-4, 2.36 ERA) will be opposed by right-hander Adrian Sampson (0-0, 3.38).
Rowdy Tellez, who gave the Brewers an early 2-0 lead on Tuesday with his 17th homer, said it was good to have a quick turnaround after a loss.
“Any time Burnsie’s on the mound, it’s going to be a good day for us,” Tellez said. “We’re confident with him on the mound. He’s obviously the reigning Cy Young pitcher. He throws the lights out. When you go into a series tied and you get into that rubber match, it’s always good to have your ace on the mound.”
Burnes has won each of his past four starts, posting a 2.03 ERA over that stretch. In his latest outing, the right-hander gave up one run on one hit in six innings in the Brewers’ 19-2 rout of the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday despite not being at his sharpest. Opponents are batting just .185 against him.
“We gave Corbin a great cushion and he did his thing,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said after Burnes’ last start. “The cutter kind of got pulled on, which you don’t see very often. And his off-speed, he didn’t have kind of some finishing pitches. But, having said all that, he gave up one hit. I’m not sure there’s a ton to criticize there.”
Burnes is 2-2 with a 3.60 ERA in 13 career appearances against the Cubs, including seven starts. In two starts against Chicago this season, he is 0-1 with a 3.75 ERA.
With the loss on Tuesday, the Brewers are 3-2 in July after going 12-15 in June, but they still sit in first place in the National League Central.
Sampson will be making his third start for the Cubs after spending most of the season at Triple-A. He allowed five runs, four earned, in 5 1/3 innings without a decision in his latest start, a 6-5 Chicago win over the Boston Red Sox on Friday.
In 16 innings this year, Sampson has struck out 14 while walking just three, and he has served up only one home run. He has faced the Brewers three times in his career, all in relief at Milwaukee, where he has produced no decisions and a 3.18 ERA.
The Cubs hope Sampson will get some offensive support from Suzuki, who is 4-for-9 with two homers and four RBIs through his first two games back.
“It’s looks really comfortable. The timing’s back to me,” Chicago manager David Ross said. “I think Seiya’s looked as good as when he started, driving the ball to right-center.”
Hendricks, who said he felt fine in his pregame warmup, was headed for an MRI exam.
“Then see what they see and kind of set a plan from there,” Hendricks said. “There’s not a whole lot to know right now before we can see that.”
–Field Level Media