When the Brewers most recently met the Cubs before the teams' series opener at Miller Park on Friday, Milwaukee scored six runs over three games at Wrigley Field from May 16-18. But the Brewers have been hot at the plate recently, and on Friday evening they exceeded their total run output from that series with an 11-5 win.
Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said earlier this week that intradivision games were important because of the need to maintain a division lead. And it doesn't matter to Roenicke that the division opponent he is playing is 19-33.
"I do not ever think of it that way," Roenicke said Friday. "You guys asked me that in Chicago, and we lost two out of three. I don't think that way about any club."
The Cubs will look to even the series on Saturday, when they are scheduled to send right-hander Jason Hammel to the mound. Hammel was hit on the back of his pitching hand on a comebacker in his May 20 start against the Yankees, and he said it affected him somewhat against the Padres on Sunday in his most recent outing, in which he gave up three runs in 5 2/3 innings in a 4-3 loss.
"I felt some fatigue in the hand," he said after that game. "I couldn't get the best feeling. It affected my command. I had a long fifth. After that, I hit a wall."
Hammel will look to bounce back vs. a team against which he has had success in his career. In five career starts against Milwaukee, Hammel is 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA.
The Brewers are slated to give the ball to Wily Peralta, who has been stellar this season, allowing as many as three earned runs just once in 10 starts. The team that scored those three runs was the Cubs, who dealt Peralta his first loss of the season on April 27.
Overall, in six career starts against Chicago, Peralta is 2-3 with a 3.22 ERA.
Cubs: Rizzo gets a breather
First baseman Anthony Rizzo was not in the lineup for Friday night's series opener with the Brewers. Cubs manager Rick Renteria felt it was a good time to give Rizzo -- who had played in every game of the season -- a respite given that Thursday was an off-day for the team.
"I could play," Rizzo said. "I don't have to take a day. Obviously, I want to be out there and help the guys win. It is what it is."
Brewers: Davis credits timing with recent surge
Left fielder Khris Davis is enjoying an eight-game hitting streak, and in Milwaukee's recent series against the Orioles he hit three homers. He credits his recent offensive surge to an adjustment in timing at the plate.
"I've just been getting set up on time and trusting my hands," he said Friday before he started a game in the five-hole for the first time since May 5, going 2-for-4. "Earlier in the year, I felt like I was catching stuff out in front, which makes me pull-happy. I'm never working to pull as a hitter. As far as my timing, I've been catching [the baseball] deeper."
• Before the Cubs scored twice in the third inning Friday, they had been held scoreless for 22 consecutive innings, losing in consecutive shutouts to the Giants prior to their series against the Brewers.
• Ryan Braun is a career 5-for-11 (.455) with a double and an RBI against Hammel.
• Starlin Castro is a career .474 hitter (9-for-19) against Peralta, with a double, two home runs and four RBIs. Rizzo is 6-for-16 (.375) with a double, two homers and five RBIs against the right-hander.
Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.