While the Milwaukee Brewers are trying to fend off the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central, the New York Yankees are trying to claw back into the American League wild-card race.
The teams will square off in a three-game weekend series in New York beginning Friday night.
Milwaukee (77-62) has held the division lead every day since Aug. 3 and heads into its first visit to the Bronx since July 2017 with a two-game lead over the Cubs. While the Cubs swept the visiting San Francisco Giants in three games this week before losing to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday, the Brewers dropped two of three in Pittsburgh.
Milwaukee won nine straight from Aug. 18-28 but has lost five of eight games since.
In a 5-4 loss to the Pirates on Wednesday, Willy Adames hit a three-run homer in the first inning but the Brewers went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Milwaukee was unable to score the tying run when pinch hitter Rowdy Tellez hit into a double play to end the eighth, and William Contreras struck out looking to end the game with a runner on first.
“We were hoping to beat the Pirates and at least win the series, but they played good baseball in this series and they took advantage in this game and they were able to win,” Milwaukee starting pitcher Freddy Peralta said.
New York (70-70) is 10-5 since losing nine in a row for the first time since 1982. The Yankees head into Friday trailing the Toronto Blue Jays by seven games for the AL’s third wild card, but they also are behind the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox.
New York won five straight before taking a 10-3 pounding from the Detroit Tigers on Thursday night. Gleyber Torres hit his 25th homer and rookie Everson Pereira hit a two-run double, but the Yankees fell behind two batters in and trailed by seven in the fourth inning.
“I don’t think it takes anything from how we’re playing and how we’re capable of playing going forward,” Yankees rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe said.
Colin Rea (5-5, 5.07 ERA) will start the series opener for the Brewers. Rea returned from the minors on Saturday and allowed two runs on three hits in 4 1/3 innings during a no-decision against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Rea will face the Yankees for the second time. He earned a win over New York for the San Diego Padres on July 1, 2016, when he allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits in six innings.
New York’s Luis Severino (4-8, 6.75 ERA) will attempt to win his third straight decision after going 0-4 with an 14.18 ERA in his previous four appearances.
Severino pitched 13 2/3 scoreless innings during his wins over the Washington Nationals and Detroit before allowing four runs on six hits in four innings during a no-decision on Saturday at Houston.
Severino’s only start against the Brewers came on July 8, 2017, when he allowed three runs in seven innings and struck out 10 in a no-decision.
–Field Level Media