Preview: Brewers at Rays - July 28
Looking to maintain their lead atop the National League Central Division, the Milwaukee Brewers send 11-game winner Kyle Lohse to the mound when they open a three-game interleague series at the resurgent Tampa Bay Rays on Monday in the opener of a three-game set.
Lohse has reached double-digit victories for four consecutive seasons, a span in which the veteran right-hander is 52-25. Milwaukee, which holds a two-game lead over St. Louis, is 29-21 away from home.
The red-hot Rays had their nine-game winning streak snapped in a 3-2 home loss to Boston on Sunday, but the current hot spell has them within 4 1/2 games of the second wild card in the American League.
Tampa Bay has received stellar pitching during its 9-1 tear, allowing only one opponent to score more than three runs. Rookie right-hander Jake Odorizzi, who has lost only once in his last seven starts, will oppose Lohse as he seeks to win his third straight start.
TV: 6:10 p.m, FSN Wisconsin
PITCHING MATCHUP: Brewers RH Kyle Lohse (11-4, 3.07 ERA) vs. Rays RH Jake Odorizzi (6-8, 3.97)
Lohse bounced back from back-to-back defeats by winning his last two starts, allowing one run in each to match his win total from 2013. Lohse, who is among the NL leaders with a 1.09 WHIP and has walked only three in his last four outings, limited Cincinnati to a run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings last time out. Lohse has been outstanding away from Miller Park, compiling a 7-2 record in 12 road starts.
Odorizzi permitted a pair of solo homers over 5 2/3 innings to win at St. Louis on Tuesday - his eighth consecutive start allowing three runs or fewer. The 24-year-old from Illinois has fanned 23 batters over 18 1/3 innings in his last three starts and is averaging 10.46 strikeouts per nine innings. Odorizzi, who is 4-1 in his last seven outings, is 3-4 in 11 home starts despite a superb 2.73 ERA.
1. Rays 1B James Loney has hit safely in seven of eight games but is batting only .226 in 32 career games against Milwaukee.
2. Brewers 3B Aramis Ramirez was 2-for-24 on the seven-game homestand.
3. Rays RHP Joel Peralta (virus) is expected to be activated off the 15-day disabled list Monday.
PREDICTION: Rays 3, Brewers 2