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May 5, 2024 7:56 am

Christopher Morel looks to lift Cubs in rubber match vs. Brewers

Christopher Morel

Christopher Morel will attempt to prolong his power surge on Sunday afternoon when the Chicago Cubs host the Milwaukee Brewers in the rubber match of a three-game series.

Morel has homered in three straight games, with his latest blast — a two-run shot — coming during the Cubs’ 6-5 win Saturday.

Morel has seven homers and 20 RBIs this season for Chicago, which lost the series opener 3-1 on Friday.

“Our offense has been a little quiet lately …,” Cubs manager Craig Counsell said. “Christopher’s in a (great) stretch right now. The homers, I think for most guys, come in bunches. And he’s had a good week.”

It looked as if Chicago was going to coast to victory when it took a 5-0 advantage into the seventh inning Saturday, but that’s when Milwaukee stormed back.

The Brewers struck for four runs (three earned) off Cubs reliever Keegan Thompson in the frame, but they were not able to draw even. Milwaukee later had the tying and go-ahead runs on first and second in the ninth inning before Willy Adames grounded into a forceout to end the game.

Chicago’s bullpen had blown a three-run lead in the sixth inning against the New York Mets on Thursday before coughing up a one-run advantage in the eighth inning vs. the Brewers on Friday.

Aside from the relievers’ struggles, the Cubs’ pitching staff has been stellar, as starters have combined to surrender just 13 earned runs over 67 2/3 innings over the past 12 games — good for an ERA of 1.73.

Right-hander Javier Assad (2-0, 1.97 ERA) can continue that stretch of dominance when he gets the nod for Chicago on Sunday.

In his most recent outing, Assad allowed one run on five hits in five innings to take a no-decision against the Mets on Tuesday.

Assad is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in two career relief appearances against Milwaukee.

Fellow right-hander Freddy Peralta (3-0, 3.21) will provide the opposition in the series finale.

Peralta earned a win against the Rays on Tuesday, giving up two runs and one hit in 5 1/3 innings. However, he also came away with a five-game suspension after throwing at Tampa Bay’s Jose Siri in that outing.

But Peralta plans to appeal, and since that process is not completed, he is eligible to take the mound on Sunday.

In 15 career appearances (10 starts) against Chicago, Peralta is 5-1 with a 3.34 ERA.

Saturday’s loss marked the end of a three-game winning streak for the Brewers. Milwaukee manager Pat Murphy, however, has been pleased with the fight his team has shown through the first two games of the series with the Cubs.

“The guys are always competitive, man. They make you proud to be part of them,” Murphy said. “It’s part of their character, part of who they are that they keep battling no matter what. … We had a million ways to tie it up or win it (on Saturday).”

While the resiliency has been impressive, the Brewers hope to get their offense going a bit earlier on Sunday. Milwaukee has not scored before the seventh inning over the past two days, and it mustered just two hits before the big seventh inning on Saturday.

–Field Level Media

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