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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, April 25th (All times Eastern)

Chicago Cubs (7-14) at Milwaukee Brewers (16-6), 8:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Chicago - Carlos Villanueva (1-4, 10.93) Milwaukee - Matt Garza (0-2, 4.50)

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Milwaukee Brewers look to pad their lead in the National League Central Division on Friday when they begin a three-game series with the last-place Chicago Cubs at Miller Park.

At 16-6, Milwaukee owns the best record in the majors. While much of that early success has come on the road (9-1), the team did improve its home record to 7-5 with Wednesday's 5-2, series-clinching win over the San Diego Padres.

Kyle Lohse surrendered just one earned run in seven innings, while Jean Segura delivered a three-run homer and Khris Davis tacked on a solo shot for an offense that had largely struggled at Miller Park.

The Brewers have won five of their last six games overall.

Chicago lost the final two games of its four-game series with Arizona after winning the first two. On Thursday, the Cubs were dealt a 5-2 setback to spoil a quality start from Edwin Jackson, who went seven innings and gave up three runs.

Taking the mound in Friday's series opener for Chicago is right-hander Carlos Villanueva, who pitched as a swing man for Milwaukee from 2006-10. This could be his last start for Chicago in the foreseeable future with Jake Arrieta nearing a return. Villanueva gave up a career-high nine runs in three innings at St. Louis on April 12, then followed that up by allowing five runs in 4 2/3 innings of Sunday's 8-2 loss to Cincinnati.

"We all know what the plan is, it's no major secret," Villanueva said. "If I have to go down to the bullpen, I'll keep working my butt off and try to help out there."

Meanwhile, Milwaukee will send right-hander Matt Garza to the mound to face his former team for the first time. Garza, who pitched for the Cubs from 2011 until being traded away last summer, is still seeking his first win for a Brewers club that signed him to a four-year $50 million deal, the richest free agent contract in team history.

"Not really," he told reporters when asked if there was any significance about facing his former squad. "There's your answer. It's another ballgame."

In his last start, Garza was done in by a five-run fourth inning after second baseman Rickie Weeks misplayed a routine double-play grounder. Garza entered Friday 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA.

"I think the last game where we didn't play well behind him defensively and he had the tough inning, it may have gotten to him a little bit," manager Ron Roenicke said. "But I thought he kept his composure and still tried to make pitches. Sometimes we're not making plays, and sometimes he makes a good pitch and they roll one right between somebody. It's always a little bit of both.

"He can definitely throw the ball better, and I've seen better. Hopefully we get him in a groove where we see this consistency from him and we get a lot of good outings in a row."

This marks the first of 19 scheduled matchups between the Brewers and Cubs this season. Milwaukee went 13-6 against Chicago last season.

04/25 10:30:41 ET

TV
  • World Series: Kansas City vs. San Francisco

    Tomorrow at 7:30 pm on FOX50

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Final
GBP 38
CAR 17
Final
CHI 101
CHA 96
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
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Final
BRK 90
BOS 95
Final
OKC 94
MIN 112
Final
CHI 101
CHA 96
Final
HOU 90
GSW 83
Final
LAL 98
UTA 91
7:00pm Tonight
CLE
CHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
NOP
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
CHA
 
7:30pm Tonight
NYK
MIL
 
7:30pm Tonight
BRK
PHI
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
MEM
 
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
SAC
 
Final
LOS 2
MIN 1
Final
NYR 4
SJS 0
Final
WIN 1
CAL 4
Final
ANA 3
STL 0
9:30pm Tonight
EDM
TAM
 
Final
BAL 29
ATL 7
Final
GBP 38
CAR 17
Final
IND 27
CIN 0
Final
JAC 24
CLE 6
Final
CHI 14
MIA 27
Final
BUF 17
MIN 16
Final
DET 24
NOS 23
Final
STL 28
SEA 26
Final
WAS 19
TEN 17
Final
SDC 20
KAN 23
Final
OAK 13
ARI 24
Final
DAL 31
NYG 21
Final
DEN 42
SFX 17
8:30pm Tonight
PIT
HOU