The Brewers have only had 12 eight-game winning streaks in franchise history, and none since August of 2008. Tonight, they get a shot at the 13th.
They'll go for win #8 with Shaun Marcum (3.33 ERA, 3.60 FIP) on the mound. Following a streak where the Brewers lost eight out of nine of his starts, Marcum has won three straight and posted a 3.00 ERA over 18 innings while doing so. He allowed just two runs on seven hits against the Cubs on Thursday, walking one and striking out four.
As efficient and precise as Marcum can be at times, he's still not going to approach this record: In 2004 Ben Sheets had 25 starts where he pitched at least six innings and walked one batter or less. Marcum has nine such starts in 2011, and will likely only get eleven more opportunities.
Marcum faced the Cardinals on June 12 and was a winner, holding them to three runs on five hits over seven innings with two walks and eight strikeouts. Corey Patterson is the only current Cardinal that's faced him ten times or more: He's 3-for-10 with a pair of doubles for a .300/.300/.500 line.
Marcum will face Jaime Garcia (3.14 ERA, 2.97 FIP), who doesn't get as much attention as you'd expect for a pitcher who's already worth 3.0 fWAR in 2011. Despite a rough outing last time out he was very good in July, averaging over six innings per start with a 2.51 ERA and 23 strikeouts to eight walks in 32.1 innings. Last time out he took the loss against the Astros, allowing four earned runs (five total) on eight hits over six innings.
Garcia works right around 90 with his fastball but throws a fair number of cutters (20% of all pitches) and a changeup (16%), along with the occasional curve. His cutter, change and curve have all been above average this season and all four pitches are above average for his career.
Garcia pitched a complete game shutout against the Brewers in May, holding them to just two hits and a walk while striking out eight. He already has three career shutouts in 51 starts. Five current Brewers have faced him ten times or more:
Here's tonight's lineup:
Corey Hart RF
Jerry Hairston Jr. CF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Jonathan Lucroy C
Josh Wilson 2B
Shaun Marcum P
And in the bullpen:
LaTroy Hawkins pitched two innings (27 pitches) last night.
Kameron Loe pitched one inning (13 pitches) last night.
Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning (20 pitches) Sunday.
Takashi Saito pitched .1 innings (12 pitches) Sunday.
John Axford pitched one inning (9 pitches) Sunday.