Kris Bryant is doing a bit of everything these days for the Chicago Cubs, who continue their three-game series against the visiting Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday afternoon.
Bryant went 3-for-4 in Friday’s 15-2 win over the Brewers and is batting .364 (16-for-44) in his last 12 games. The 2016 NL MVP is also showing his versatility in the field after outfielder Joc Pederson landed on the 10-day injured list on Thursday with tendinitis in his left wrist.
A regular third-baseman, Bryant started in right field for two games this week before moving to left field for Friday’s matchup.
“He looks so comfortable out there and at ease,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “I mean, it really is a nice luxury to have, to be able to move a guy of his caliber around a little bit. It’s been very clean. I’ve thought he’s done a great job and looks really natural out there, and that’s a really big value.”
Chicago has won four straight games and received a boost Friday from Nico Hoerner, who went 3-for-4 with two doubles after being recalled from the team’s alternate site to fill Pederson’s roster spot.
Milwaukee is 3-1 on its six-game road trip and will turn to right-hander Freddy Peralta (2-0, 2.00 ERA), who started last Sunday against Pittsburgh and received a no-decision after allowing three runs with seven strikeouts over five innings.
Bryant is 2-for-11 with a home run against Peralta, who owns a 4-1 record and 3.18 ERA in eight career games (three starts) against the Cubs, including 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA in two starts this season.
Cubs right-hander Adbert Alzolay (0-2, 6.10) is set to make his third start against Milwaukee this season. The rookie took his second loss of the season in his last outing against the Brewers on April 12, allowing three runs on three hits in 5 1/3 innings.
The 26-year-old has allowed a total of seven runs with 10 strikeouts against three walks in his previous two starts covering 10 1/3 innings against Milwaukee.
The Brewers got a boost Friday when Kolten Wong went 3-for-4 with a solo homer in his return to the leadoff spot. The second baseman had been out since April 8 with a left oblique strain.
The Brewers continue to exercise patience with first baseman Keston Hiura, who is batting .111 after going 0-for-3 on Friday. Hiura hit 19 homers as a rookie in 2019, and 13 in the abbreviated 2020 season, but has just three extra-base hits in his 64 plate appearances this season.
“I think we and he both believe he is a better offensive player than what we have seen so far this year, and he’s going to keep getting opportunities to show that,” said Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns.
The Brewers may need Hiura to break his early-season slump in order to keep pace with Chicago’s offense, which has scored 35 runs in their last three contests. At the outset of the season, it took the Cubs 13 games to score their first 34 runs.
Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich (back) will not be activated from the injured list when first eligible on Saturday, but the Brewers are anticipating his return in the next few days.
–Field Level Media