Managers and players alike aren't going to place a lot of emphasis on April results. Of course, carrying the momentum from a three-game series sweep sure beats the alternative for the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers.
The National League Central rivals will both be looking to extend winning streaks Friday afternoon, when the Cubs are scheduled to host the Brewers in the opener of a three-game series.
Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks (0-2, 6.92 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for against Brewers left-hander Brett Anderson (2-1, 2.65).
The Cubs completed their sweep of the New York Mets on Thursday night, when Jason Heyward delivered the game-winning RBI single in the 10th inning of a 4-3 victory.
The Brewers were off Thursday after finishing off their own sweep Wednesday afternoon. Omar Narvaez and Jace Peterson homered to fuel a three-run, sixth-inning comeback in a 4-2 win over the host San Diego Padres.
Despite the calendar, the sweeps were produced at opportune times for each club. The Cubs entered Tuesday's opener against the Mets with just 51 runs in their first 17 games, but they outscored New York 23-8. The bulk of those runs came Wednesday in a 16-4 rout.
The Cubs displayed some mettle in escaping bases-loaded, one-out situations in the ninth inning of Tuesday's 3-1 win and the 10th inning of Thursday's finale, when Dan Winkler uncorked a wild pitch and issued two walks before getting Dominic Smith to hit into a double play.
"That's a character win," Cubs manager David Ross said Thursday night. "It says a lot about this group -- continue to fight.
"Hopefully the momentum can carry forward after a nice win on the back side of a series."
The Brewers headed to San Diego to face the early-season darlings following a three-game series loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who finished with the worst record in baseball last season.
Against the Padres, Milwaukee displayed a playoff-caliber formula by winning the first two games behind Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes, who combined to allow one run on five hits while striking out 17 in 12 innings. Five Brewers pitchers combined for 4 1/3 innings of scoreless two-hit relief in the series finale.
"I think you win series like this because you get contributions from a lot of people," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We got big contributions from our two big pitchers, Woody and Corbin. But a lot of other guys did really good things in the series."
Hendricks took a loss Sunday, when he gave up seven runs over four innings as the Cubs fell to the Atlanta Braves 13-4. Anderson earned the win on Saturday, when he allowed only an unearned run over seven innings as the Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-1.
Hendricks is 9-6 with a 2.72 ERA in 24 career starts against the Brewers. Anderson, who spent part of the 2017 season with the Cubs, is 1-2 with a 3.55 ERA in five starts against Chicago.
--Field Level Media