Three Sheets to the Wind

One week after third baseman Aramis Ramirez came off the disabled list, he's helped put the Chicago Cubs on the cusp of their longest winning streak in six years.

Ramirez and the surging Cubs look to further cut into the Milwaukee Brewers' NL Central lead Saturday when the teams continue a three-game series at Wrigley Field.

Ramirez, who came off the 15-day disabled list on June 22 after being sidelined with patellar tendinitis, hit a game-winning homer off Brewers (46-33) closer Francisco Cordero on Friday in Chicago's 6-5 win, capping a rally from a five-run deficit.

"Even though we fell behind 5-0 in the first inning we never gave up. The bullpen did a great job and gave us a chance to come back and we did," Ramirez said.

"This is the team we have to beat, Milwaukee, and try to get close. ... When we win the game and I come in, everybody is jumping around because that was pretty special - the way we win and we beat the first-place team."

The Cubs (39-39) have won seven straight games since Ramirez returned from the DL, and are going for their first eight-game winning streak since a 12-game run from May 19-June 2, 2001. However, they are still 6 1/2 games behind the first-place Brewers, who are 12-3 since June 13.

"They are a pretty good team and if anybody can bounce back from a game like that, it's Milwaukee," said Ramirez, who is hitting .346 (9-for-26) with five RBIs since returning to the lineup. "They've been in first all year."

Ramirez is just 9-for-46 (.196) with one homer and seven strikeouts in his career against Milwaukee ace Ben Sheets (9-3, 3.09 ERA).

Sheets, who is looking to become the Brewers' first 10-game winner, is 5-0 with a 2.04 ERA over his last six starts, and has won three consecutive outings.

On Monday, the right-hander allowed one run and five hits over six innings of a 6-1 victory over the Houston Astros.

"I'm pitching well," Sheets said. "The only things that matters at the end of the day is limit the runs."

Sheets is 7-7 with a 3.94 ERA in 20 career starts against the Cubs, but has not defeated them since July 5, 2004. He is 0-5 with a 5.50 ERA and 10 home runs allowed in nine starts versus Chicago since that time. Sheets lasted three scoreless innings in an April 25 meeting at Wrigley before leaving with a groin strain.

The Cubs will counter with Sean Marshall (4-2, 2.44), who is 4-0 with a 2.32 ERA in five June starts, and has given up more than two earned runs only once in seven outings this season.

The 24-year-old left-hander had his first scoreless start of the year on Sunday, when he threw 6 1-3 innings in a 3-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox, allowing five hits and one walk while striking out three.

Marshall is 2-1 with a 2.13 ERA in three starts at Wrigley in 2007.

by: Michael Cash - – Email Us

More MLB Baseball coverage from

 - MLB news wire
 - Current MLB Injuries
 - 2007 MLB standings
 - 2007 MLB schedule
 - 2007 MLB Umpire sheet
 - 2007 MLB stats
 - MLB scoreboard
 - Expert MLB picks
 - Accuscore predictions
 - Comments and discussion
 - Signup for daily newsletter
 - MLB home

MLB Top Stories

Thumbnail Kershaw tries to keep visitors' run going The Cubs seized a 3-2 edge in the NLCS by winning Games 4 and 5 in Los Angeles. Will Clayton Kershaw be able to save the Dodgers’...
Thumbnail North Siders' bats rise as NCLS progresses Anthony Rizzo is still batting well below .200 in the playoffs. Yet the Chicago first baseman seems to be heating up at precisely...
Thumbnail Hosts ask Urias to give them 3-1 NLCS edge Tonight, Julio Urias will make history in Game 4 of the NLCS. The Dodgers simply hope that it’s for all the right reasons.
Thumbnail Francona needs relief corps to thrive again The Blue Jays suddenly have life in the NLCS. Now, though, can they truly put fear in the Indians and send the festivities back to northern...
Thumbnail Arrieta tries to lift visitors at Chavez Ravine After getting punched in the mouth in Game 1 of the NLCS, the Dodgers struck back on Sunday night. Can they keep running with the Cubs as the action...
More inMLB Articles  

MLB Headlines

More inMLB News  

MLB Team Pages