After four games, the Brewers were 0-4 and struggling to get anything going. They lost a heart-breaker to the Reds on Opening Day after blowing a 6-2 lead, then lost the other two games 4-2 and 12-3. Then their home-opener came and the Brewers had a 1-0 lead until the eighth inning, when Martin Prado and Dan Uggla hit solo home runs to win the game for the Braves.

After three more games, however, the Brewers stand at 3-4 with some momentum heading into the weekend series with the Chicago Cubs. So how did this winning streak occur?

On Tuesday, the Brewers got a complete game from pitcher Yovani Gallardo, who gave up only two hits and scored the only run in Milwaukee’s 1-0 win. Wednesday saw the Brewers jump out to a 5-1 lead with RBIs from Prince Fielder, Mark Kotsay, and Yuniesky Betancourt. However, it got tight when the Braves’ Jason Heyward hit a three-run home run in the top of the sixth.

But pitchers Zach Braddock, Kameron Loe, and John Axford pitched the next three scoreless innings and Milwaukee held on for the 5-4 victory. On Thursday, the Brewers beat the Braves, winning 4-2 thanks to a home run by Ryan Braun and great performances from pitchers Shaun Marcum and John Axford, who got his second save of the season. 

How have the Brewers done it? First of all, the pitching staff has stepped up. Yovani Gallardo showed that he can go the distance with his complete game Tuesday and John Axford has stepped up in the clutch and recorded two saves the last two games the Brewers have played. Zach Braddock and Kameron Loes have stepped up as well. If they can continue to pitch consistently well, they will always have a chance to win ball games.

Secondly, the offense is starting to pick up. Prince Fielder had four RBIs the last two games and has been batting .292. Fielder also has a .414 OBP as well. Ryan Braun has also been phenomenal, with three home runs and five RBI on the season along with a .393 batting average. Nyjer Morgan made some great plays in the final game of the series against the Braves, hitting a double, stealing a base, and making a play at the plate by knocking the ball out of catcher Brian McCann’s hands.

Tonight the Cubs come to town, and this first series against a division rival will be a big test for the Brewers to see how their new additions stack up against the Cubs. The Brewers will send pitcher Randy Wolf to face the Cubs’ Carlos Zambrano, who has a 6-0 record and a 1.97 ERA against the Brewers at Miller Park. The Cubs will also have first baseman Carlos Pena back in the lineup, which will be something that Wolf will have to deal with. Zambrano will be a big test for the Brewers’ bats, who in the first series with the Cubs last year, struggled to score runs and got swept.

With the way the Brewer bats have been swinging the last three games though, they will give the Cubs a challenge. The other match-ups will be Chris Narveson versus new Cubs pitcher Matt Garza, and on Sunday it will be Gallardo versus Casey Coleman. 

Tune in this weekend to this division series and rivalry. It could very well set the stage for the rest of the Brewers’ season.

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