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Chicago Cubs (58-37) at Milwaukee Brewers (40-54)
Saturday, July 23 - 7:10 PM EST
Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
After spending more than a month on the shelf, Dexter Fowler didn't take long to announce his return to the top of the Chicago Cubs’ lineup. Fowler led off Friday's contest with a home run and finished with three hits and three RBIs in his first game back, and he and the Cubs will try for an encore performance when they continue their three-game road series against the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday.
The Cubs stumbled into the All-Star break as their starting pitching sputtered while the offense struggled to find consistency. The rotation has righted itself – Chicago’s starters have posted a 1.76 ERA in seven games since the break – and Fowler sparked the lineup in his first game since injuring his hamstring on June 18. The Brewers have lost seven of their last nine overall and six of eight at home, where they’re 23-23. Cubs veteran John Lackey will try to change his fortunes on the road, where he is 3-2 with a 4.70 ERA this season - although he won at Miller Park on May 18, holding the Brewers to one run and four hits over six frames.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, WGN (Chicago), FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs RH John Lackey (7-6, 3.75 ERA) vs. Brewers RH Zach Davies (6-4, 3.79)
Lackey is winless in seven starts since beating Philadelphia on June 8 and has allowed at least four runs in each of his last three outings. The 37-year-old gave the Cubs eight innings last time out against Texas, but he gave up four runs and six hits in a 4-1 defeat. Lackey is 5-1 with a 2.95 ERA in nine starts against the Brewers.
After losing his first three starts of the season, Davies has been rock-solid over the past 2 1/2 months, going 6-1 with a 2.95 ERA over his last 13 turns. The 23-year-old didn’t factor in the decision Sunday at Cincinnati despite an impressive outing in which he allowed four hits over seven scoreless innings. Davies has faced the Cubs just once and earned the win, allowing two hits over six scoreless frames last season.
1. The Cubs have stolen a base in a season-high six consecutive games after recording just five steals over their previous 24 contests.
2. Brewers LF Ryan Braun homered Friday and is 9-for-26 during his seven-game hitting streak.
3. Milwaukee SS Jonathan Villar has reached base safely in 11 consecutive home games.
PREDICTION: Cubs 4, Brewers 3