|4:10 PM PT5:10 PM MT6:10 PM CT7:10 PM ET19:10 ET23:10 GMT7:10 4:10 PM MST6:10 PM EST6:40 PM VEN3:10 UAE (+1)6:10 PM CT, September 5, 2019
Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Attendance: 31,007
Brewers host Cubs with season on the brink
The Milwaukee Brewers' chances of winning the National League Central are growing more unlikely by the day. A bad weekend against the Chicago Cubs could also make their NL wild-card aspirations unrealistic.
Heading into the opener of a four-game series in Milwaukee against Chicago, the Brewers are four games behind the Cubs for the second wild-card spot.
The Brewers made small progress last weekend by taking two of three at Wrigley Field to reduce their deficit to three games, but they lost a game in the standings by splitting two games at home against Houston while Chicago swept a two-game series with the Seattle Mariners.
"We want meaningful games after this, and there's going to be," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "It's going to be a good series, man. We've got to win games. The Cubs aren't the only team in this thing. They're one of the teams we have to beat, and this is a chance to do it head to head."
The Brewers are in this situation because of how things have unfolded in the last month.
After a 3-2 win over Texas on Aug. 10, the Brewers were 62-56 and held a half-game lead in the wild-card race. Milwaukee fell out of the second wild-card spot the next day and is 9-15 in its last 24 games.
During that slide, the Cubs and Cardinals have heated up. The Cubs are 12-10 while the Cardinals entered Wednesday 19-5 since Aug. 9 and seven games ahead of Milwaukee.
"For all of us, we'll recognize the magnitude of the series," Milwaukee's Ryan Braun said. "It's the last time we get an opportunity to play (the Cubs). The Cardinals have been playing phenomenal baseball and distanced themselves, it feels, a little bit from where we're at.
The Brewers shut out the Cubs for the last 18 innings last weekend and then salvaged a split with Houston when Eric Thames hit a three-run homer after Braun had the game-tying hit.
Chicago's scoreless streak reached 24 innings before it scored five times in the eighth inning Monday. The Cubs followed it up with a 6-1 win Tuesday when Nicolas Castellanos homered and drove in four runs on a night when Willson Contreras and Ben Zobrist returned.
Contreras came back from missing a month due to a right hamstring injury, and Zobrist returned from missing over three months due to personal reasons.
"We should be full go. They're all energetic players," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "That's what we need. I've talked about (how) September provides its own energy. Listen, we're in a race. There's no reason to show up and not feel that way, but these are the guys."
The Cubs were without Kris Bryant (right knee soreness) and Javier Baez (jammed left thumb). Bryant's knee has bothered him at various points since the end of July, while Baez injured his thumb Sunday against Milwaukee, and both players are day-to-day for Thursday.
Chase Anderson (6-4, 4.58 ERA) will start against Chicago for the second straight time. He allowed five runs on seven hits, including two homers to Castellanos, in four innings of a 7-1 loss Friday afternoon at Wrigley.
Anderson is 5-5 with a 3.27 ERA in 14 career games (13 starts) against the Cubs. He is 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA in his three outings against Chicago this season.
Jose Quintana (12-8, 3.90) will start against Milwaukee for the second straight time and is 8-1 with a 3.08 ERA in his last 11 starts. He opposed Anderson last week and tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings when he allowed three runs or less for the 21st time.
Quintana is 2-2 with a 5.54 ERA in five starts against Milwaukee this season and 8-4 with 2.65 ERA in 16 career starts against the Brewers.
--Field Level Media
Updated September 4, 2019