video thumbnail

PHI@MIL: Gallardo stellar over seven to earn the win

Wednesday afternoon's series finale between the Cubs and Brewers at Miller Park will feature two starting pitchers streaking in distinctly opposite directions.

For Milwaukee, Yovani Gallardo is scheduled to toe the slab. The right-hander, who is 12-8 with a 3.67 ERA, has won four straight starts. During that stretch, Gallardo has given up just six runs and notched 26 strikeouts over 28 2/3 innings. On Wednesday, he'll go up against Chicago southpaw Travis Wood, who is 4-9 with a 4.83 ERA. Wood has lost six consecutive decisions.

The Brewers have taken both games of the series so far, winning on Monday, 9-5, and Tuesday, 5-2.

After Gallardo's last start, in which he gave up one run on four hits over seven innings, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said the righty's curveball was probably the best it has been all season. The strong effort came despite an undisclosed family emergency, which forced the pitcher to travel home to Fort Worth, Texas, following the outing.

"These guys go through the same struggles that everyone goes through, whether it's an illness, whether it's some kind of family issue," Roenicke said.

Gallardo, whose 20 quality starts are tied with Washington's Jordan Zimmermann for the most in baseball, was back at Miller Park to throw a bullpen session on Monday.

"Things are better at home, so I think that helps his mind," Roenicke said. "Hopefully, he's the same guy we've seen for a while now."

A continuation of that success would spell trouble for the Cubs and their starter, Wood, who is 0-6 with a 7.68 ERA over his last seven starts. Hidden inside that span are three straight outings during which Wood posted a 2.50 ERA, but the lefty followed them by surrendering seven runs -- six earned -- over five frames in his latest appearance.

Wood will need to turn things around in order to procure a turn in next year's rotation. At this point, Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija appear to be the only starters with spots assured. But the rotation isn't the only part of Chicago's roster that will look different in 2013. Cubs fans can expect to see a team that's full of new faces next spring.

"It'll be younger -- you can tell that right now," Garza said. "There will be a lot less experience. If you're going to do the full rebuild, you're going to have to have a year or two like that. Right now, we're going through some aches and pains -- growing pains -- but we'll be fine."

Cubs: Garza officially out for the year
• Speaking of Garza, the right-hander was in the news on Tuesday, as the Cubs transferred him to the 60-day disabled list, ensuring that he would not make another start this season.

"If he came back, even if everything went great, he might have gotten a start or two and there's no reason to do that," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "He's shut down the rest of the season."

A right elbow stress reaction has prevented Garza from pitching since July 21. In 18 starts, he went 5-7 with a 3.91 ERA. By placing Garza on the 60-day DL, Chicago made room for reliever Alex Hinshaw, who was claimed off waivers from the Padres.

"I wanted to finish it off," Garza said. "I'd like to be the guy who steps out there every five days and be known for that. I've had a little hiccup. I'll come back stronger."

Brewers: Hart wants to stay in Milwaukee
In order to remain with the Brewers, Corey Hart said he'd be open to a permanent switch to first base -- a position he adopted out of need in 2012 -- or a move back to right field, where he started on Opening Day. Hart hopes his willingness to play wherever Milwaukee wants him might spur discussions about a contract extension. His current deal expires after 2013.

"Hopefully, it will overlap and start something," Hart said. "I've never been in this position, so I don't know what their plan is. They could obviously trade me in the offseason, but I want to stay around. Hopefully, they want me to stay around for more than next year."

The Brewers drafted Hart as a first baseman in the 11th round in 2000, but he had not played there regularly since 2002. Milwaukee found itself in a tight spot after first baseman Prince Fielder signed with Detroit as a free agent and Fielder's replacement, Mat Gamel, suffered a season-ending knee injury.

"I really like it here," Hart said. "My family likes it, I like it, I've always been here. I would definitely like to stay."

Worth noting
• The Brewers are 9-3 against Chicago this season. After Wednesday's game, the two clubs will meet once more, when the Cubs host Milwaukee for four games at Wrigley Field from Aug. 27-30.

• Milwaukee pitchers lead the National League in strikeouts with 1,042. Brewers hurlers notched 12 strikeouts against Chicago on both Monday and Tuesday.

MLB.com Comments