MILWAUKEE — Lorenzo Cain will be back in the lineup Tuesday when the Milwaukee Brewers open a two-game interleague set with Cain’s former team Marcus Davenport Color Rush Jersey , the Kansas City Royals, at Miller Park.
Cain sat out Sunday when the Brewers wrapped up a four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals. It was a scheduled day off for the veteran center fielder, who ha played every game since May 23 but also a chance for him to rest a nagging groin injury and get two full days off his feet before facing his former team.
The 32-year-old has been everything the Milwaukee Brewers had hoped for when they signed him to a franchise-record $80 million contract during the winter.
Cain is among the team leaders in almost every offensive category this season: hits (71), walks (43), on-base percentage (.394). He is second in doubles (15), batting average (.291) and .OPS (.832).
He also has been something of a workhorse, appearing in 72 games — just one fewer than team leader Travis Shaw — while making 70 starts. He leads the team with 312 plate appearances and 265 at-bats.
“Winning games is the most important part,” Cain said. “It’s still early in the season and we have a long way to go, but winning consistently, winning series, that’s our main goal.”
Shaw should also be back in the lineup. He left Sunday’s game when he tweaked an already-sore right wrist during a third-inning at-bat. He missed two games with the same injury earlier in the week against Pittsburgh but started all four games against St. Louis.
“This is something I’ve been dealing with for a while now and a couple of swings here and there will get it every now and then,” Shaw said. “It’ll be nice to have almost two full days off with the rest of tonight, all of tomorrow and a night game (Tuesday). We’ll see where we’re at then.”
Having those two back and healthy, as well as red-hot slugger Jesus Aguilar, who got a break Sunday, will be a relief for rookie right-hander Freddy Peralta.
After making his first three big league starts on the road Saquon Barkley Color Rush Jersey , Peralta will get a chance to show his talent to the hometown fans for the first time when he takes the mound for the series opener.
“I’m very excited,” Peralta said. “It’s like a dream, pitching in Miller Park.”
His MLB career got off to a memorable start. He struck out 13 in 5 1/3 scoreless innings with his family on hand to watch at Coors Field.
He’s 2-0 with a 2.30 ERA as a big leaguer with the Brewers, winning all three of his starts. Peralta has also struck out 84 batters in 59 innings for Triple-A Colorado Springs this season, going 6-1 with a 2.75 ERA there.
“I know that (major league hitters) are smart, but I just have to pitch the same and believe in myself, trust my ability in making pitches,” Peralta said. “I know they’re better hitters than in the minor leagues, and I just have to make the adjustments, but it’s all the same for me.”
He’ll go up against right-hander Jakub Junis, who has lost his last five starts and hasn’t won since May 18.
Junis has a 6.75 ERA during his losing streak with 24 strikeouts in 24 innings.
“It’s been tough, not only personally, but as a team,” Junis told the Kansas City Star. “We’re grinding through it.
“It’s definitely been a struggle for me. I’ve given up a lot of home runs this year, so I’m very conscious of that. I’m trying to keep it in the ballpark, because when I do Sam Darnold Color Rush Jersey , that’s when I have success.”
Kansas City has faced Milwaukee twice this season. They dropped both games of an interleague series in April at Kaufmann Stadium.
The Pittsburgh Pirates, trying to regain a foothold in the National League Central, have settled into a four-man outfield rotation that may not be altogether comfortable.
It’s hard to say from game to game which three will start. The three who began the season — left fielder Corey Dickerson, center fielder Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco in right — started Monday in a 1-0 win over Milwaukee, but it’s possible one of them will be replaced in the second game of the series Tuesday at PNC Park with rookie Austin Meadows, who has been strong offensively and defensively since being recalled last month and has played in all three outfield spots.
A lot of the sentiment surrounding the Pirates seems to lean toward Polanco sitting more often than not. He is batting .214 and has had some lapses defensively and on the bases. But the Pirates are steadfast in playing him.
“I’ve had his back through all of this, because I believe he’s a good ballplayer and I believed the swing was going to come back out,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “We’ll see. Time will tell. We can sit here and talk all day about what might happen. He’s going to get the opportunity to go out and hit. It’s going to happen or it’s not going to happen. I believe it’s going to happen.”
Polanco has been better the past two games, going 3 for 4 with a homer, two RBIs and a walk, although he stranded two runners Monday.
“It’s just a battle,” he said. “You’ve got to fight every day. You’ve got to fight. You’ve got to work. No matter how I’m doing I’m going to keep working because I worked so hard in the offseason to get my body ready. Now in the season I don’t want to stop working. I don’t care I am doing; going to keep working every day.”
A turnaround by Polanco concurrent with a Pittsburgh resurgence would certainly help. The Pirates (36-36) vied for the division lead early in the season before a month-long swoon. Monday’s win moved them back to within six games of the first-place Brewers (42-30), who have lost three straight.
Milwaukee will recall right-hander Freddy Peralta (1-0, 3.72 ERA) from Triple-A Colorado Springs and give him his third career start Tuesday, against Pittsburgh righty Jameson Taillon (4-5, 3.94 ERA).
In his earlier recall Dallas Goedert Color Rush Jersey , Peralta, 22, made his major league debut on Mother’s Day, going 5 2/3 scoreless innings against Colorado, giving up one hit and setting a Brewers record for a debut with 13 strikeouts.
In his other start, he got a no-decision.
“It’s still exciting,” Peralta told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about his second recall. “I’ve been working hard, trying to get back here. You are fighting all the time to be where you want to be — here.”
Among his three most recent starts for Colorado Springs, Peralta took a no-hitter into the seventh and struck out 11 in six innings.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell was clear that Peralta is not penciled in for anything beyond Tuesday’s start, but allowed, “He has been on a really good roll. Every line score has looked really good. The evaluations have been really good. So he has earned it.”
Milwaukee third baseman Travis Shaw’s status is unclear. He did not play Monday because of a sore wrist he got Sunday.
Taillon, who is 1-3 with a 3.47 ERA in seven career starts against Milwaukee, has gone 2-5 with a 5.02 ERA over his past 11 starts. He last pitched on Wednesday when he allowed two runs on six hits in seven innings of a 5-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.