The Chicago Cubs will try to carry the momentum of a dramatic comeback win into Sunday’s rubber match against the host Milwaukee Brewers.
Chicago rallied for a 4-2 win on Saturday after coming within two outs of a shutout loss. The Cubs scored all four of their runs in the ninth inning off of Brewers closer Josh Hader, who endured his worst outing of the season.
One day earlier, the Brewers squeaked out a 1-0 win in the series opener.
“We’ve still got to do better at creating scoring opportunities and putting runs on the board,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said to reporters.
Milwaukee (20-23) knows that time is running out to make a push for the postseason. The Brewers are in third place in the National League Central, two games behind the second-place St. Louis Cardinals for a guaranteed playoff spot.
Meanwhile, Chicago (27-20) sits atop the NL Central, three games ahead of the Cardinals and five games in front of the Brewers.
Cubs right-hander Alec Mills (4-3, 4.74 ERA) is slated to make his ninth start of the season. He is coming off an impressive performance Tuesday against the Cincinnati Reds when he tossed six scoreless innings while scattering four hits, walking three and striking out six.
It was the fourth quality start for Mills in eight outings this year.
“I thought he attacked the hitters. Tough environment out there,” Cubs manager David Ross said to reporters after Mills’ most recent start. “He threw strike one early on, especially the first couple of times to the lineup. I thought he was ahead of the hitters, just felt like he was commanding the fastball early, making them commit to the heater.
“A lot like Kyle (Hendricks), when he’s commanding the fastball, I think it just sets everything else up and it doesn’t matter what the lineup looks like.”
This will be Mills’ second career start against Milwaukee. He gave up four runs in six innings his first time out, including a three-run homer by Christian Yelich in his final frame.
The Brewers will send right-hander Adrian Houser (1-4, 5.48) to the mound. Houser has given up five earned runs in back-to-back starts and has eclipsed five innings only twice in eight outings.
The 27-year-old Houser is 1-1 with a 4.98 ERA in eight games (three starts) against the Cubs during his career. He has 22 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings.
“I’ve been working on some things here and there the last few starts, trying to get some things figured out,” Houser said after his most recent start. “Tonight I thought I had everything working how we wanted it. It just wasn’t my night.”
Cubs outfielder Cameron Maybin is a question mark heading into the series finale after he was scratched because of stomach issues Saturday. Maybin is hitting .259 with two doubles, one triple and one RBI in nine games since Chicago acquired him from the Detroit Tigers on Aug. 31.
–Field Level Media