|Brewers look to extend winning streak against Marlins|
MILWAUKEE -- It's probably just a coincidence but as the temperatures started to rise in Milwaukee, the Brewers' offense began to heat up.
That Milwaukee's run production has soared just as Christian Yelich returned to his everyday role, however, is anything but a coincidence.
"Those guys are two very good hitters," first baseman Jesus Aguilar said of Yelich and Lorenzo Cain. "Especially having Yelich in there, he's a lefty hitter who makes a lot of contact and gets on base a lot. That's big for the offense."
As a result, the Brewers will carry a season-high four-game winning streak into their game Saturday when they continue their four-game weekend set with the Miami Marlins, looking to clinch a series victory for the fourth time in seven tries this season.
The Brewers have scored 20 runs through their first two games against the Marlins. Cain has scored six of those runs while driving in two more and is 4-for-8 in the series so far.
"I feel like if I'm rolling, I'm kind of getting the team going," Cain said. "I'm trying to set the tone."
The Brewers traded for Yelich and signed Cain with the idea of putting them atop the order to set the table for Ryan Braun and Travis Shaw. That plan has worked out the last few days, especially for Braun, who has homered in each of his last two games.
"We've been looking for an opportunity to break out as a group," Braun said. "Sometimes, you just need one day like this to get everybody going."
Nobody has enjoyed the offensive resurgence more than Milwaukee's pitching staff, which had carried the load while waiting for the bats to break out and has shut out opponents in three of the last four games.
"I'm happy for those guys," right-hander Chase Anderson said. "It definitely makes our job easier. That's what these team is about. We pick each other up."
Milwaukee's Brent Suter (1-2, 4.87 ERA) gets a chance to keep that stretch going when he starts Saturday evening's game.
Suter didn't walk a better his last time out but allowed three runs on six hits while striking out four over five innings against the Reds in Cincinnati's 10-4 victory.
Saturday will mark his first career appearance against the Marlins, who will send right-hander Jose Urena (0-3, 5.57) to the mound in search of his first victory of the season after leading Miami with 14 wins a year ago.
Urena gave up four runs on eight hits and a walk over five innings in his last outing, a 7-3 loss to Pittsburgh. That line boosted his WHIP to 1.43 on the year.
Urena has worked past the fifth inning just once this season.
He is 0-0 with a 6.00 ERA in five career appearances, including one start, against the Brewers. Urena started one game against Milwaukee last year and gave up four hits, four walks and two runs in 4 2/3 innings.
The Marlins' bullpen could use a long start Saturday. They lead the league with 88 innings pitched this season, and their 5.63 ERA this season is the highest among NL bullpens.
Making matters worse, Miami has placed relievers on the disabled list each of the past two days. Chris O'Grady went out with a strained left shoulder Thursday, and Odrisamer Despaigne wound up on the 10-day disabled list Friday with a strained right forearm.
Miami summoned Nick Wittgren from Triple-A New Orleans to replace Despaigne. Wittgren underwent surgery to remove a bone chip from his throwing elbow in September, leading the team to take a cautious approach with him in the spring.
He opened the season with New Orleans, where he posted a 10.13 ERA in seven appearances and allowed two home runs in 5 1/3 innings.
"I'm ready, and I'm ready to help out," Wittgren said. "I have almost 100 innings up here, I know what it takes. I know what I have to do up here to help out, and pitch for these guys. When I get out there, I just have to execute."
Marlins manager Don Mattingly said he foresees using Wittgren as a multiple-innings option to bridge the gap between his starters and late-inning regulars.
"It's good to get Nick back," Mattingly said. "We felt like we'd get him back at some point. We were trying to get him built to multiple innings down there, and were taking that slow. But, obviously, with Odrisamer going down last night, he was really the guy."