Left-hander Paul Maholm, who signed a one-year deal this offseason with a club option for 2013, will make his Cubs debut Tuesday night against the Brewers and fellow lefty Chris Narveson, who looks to build off last season's strong second half.
Maholm, 29, is beginning his seventh full season in the Majors and first with a team other than the Pirates. Although his career record of 53-73 doesn't jump off the stat sheet, the left-hander has thrown an average of 184 innings the past six years and is coming off a season in which he posted a career-low 3.66 ERA.
As a free agent, Maholm knew he wanted to remain in the NL Central, where his familiarity would be an asset. The Cubs ended up being an attractive option, as the lefty is 6-2 with a 5.48 ERA in 11 career starts at Wrigley.
"I've had success there," Maholm said at the time of his signing. "I've got some good memories of taking the mound. I'm looking forward to doing whatever I can to help the team."
Opposing Maholm is Narveson, a 30-year-old left-hander who had a career year in 2011, primarily working as a starter for the first time. Narveson -- who went 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA against the Cubs last season -- ended '11 on a high note, posting a 3.94 ERA in the second half. If Narveson can produce similar numbers for an entire season, he could make an impressive pitching staff that much deeper.
"Hey, we depend on our pitching," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "Our pitching is very good, and that's what's going to get us there this year, as it did last year."
Brewers: Axford still streaking
It wasn't pretty, but closer John Axford posted his first save of the season on Monday night, coming in with two on and one out in the ninth and the Brewers clinging to a 7-3 lead.
Axford allowed two runs to score -- the first coming in on Aramis Ramirez's error -- but converted his 44th straight save dating back to last year, the longest active streak in the Majors.
Ramirez's next home run will be his 313th as a third baseman, putting him in sole possession of eighth place on the all-time list. He's currently tied with Ron Cey with 312.
Cubs: Starlin's streaks snapped
Starlin Castro went 0-for-4 on Monday, snapping two personal streaks. The first, and most impressive, was a stretch of 43 straight games reaching base safely, which was one shy of tying Riggs Stephenson (44 games), who is the only Cub to reach that mark since 1928. Castro's hitless night also snapped his career-long 14-game hitting streak.
Cubs outfielder Reed Johnson appeared in his 1,000th career game on Monday.
Cubs closer Carlos Marmol needs four saves for 100 in his career.
Tuesday's game is the second of 29 scheduled night games at Wrigley Field this season. The Cubs are 244-235 at home under lights since they were installed in 1988.
Cubs catcher Geovany Soto is a .389 (7-for-18) career hitter against Narveson.