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Series Preview: Cubs (96-62) @ Brewers (88-71)

In the last series of the regular season, the Brewers find themselves tied with the Mets for the NL Wild Card spot and having to win against their old nemesis, the Cubs, to make the postseason. The Brewers are 5-8 against the Cubs this year, but were handed a 4 game sweep by the Cubs at Miller Park earlier this year.
Pitching Probables:
Friday, September 26, 7:05 p.m. CT: RHP Ryan Dempster (17-6, 2.99) vs. RHP Jeff Suppan (10-10, 5.06)
Saturday, September 27, 2:55 p.m. CT: LHP Ted Lilly (16-9, 4.17) vs. RHP Ben Sheets (13-8, 2.98) or Dave Bush (9-10, 4.25)
Sunday, September 28, 1:05 p.m. CT: RHP Jason Marquis (11-9, 4.43) vs. LHP CC Sabathia (16-10, 2.80)
Things to look for:
1. Suppan had two starts against the Cubs this year, both in Chicago and both in April, and allowed 10 ER over 10 IP (2 ER over 6 1/3rd IP in one start, but 8 ER over 3 2/3rd IP in the other)…will the long timeframe since seeing Suppan set the Cubs back enough so Suppan can get through the order a couple of times without giving up more than a run or two? Will the home crowd help him some, too?
2. Can the Crew finally figure out Ryan Dempster? Dempster is 4-0, 2.52 against the Brewers this year, and is averaging 6.25 IP and 6 K’s per start. Brewers’ right-handed hitters are hitting .127 against Dempster this year, while lefties are hitting .407…can Dale Sveum stock up his line-up with enough lefties to make a mark? Left-handed hitters Prince Fielder, Craig Counsell, Russell Branyan, Ray Durham, Mike Lamb, Brad Nelson, and Tony Gwynn, Jr. could all get a chance to contribute…watch for Durham to get the start at second base, with Counsell likely starting at third and Branyan pinch-hitting early on if the Brewers get runners on base.
3. Can Sheets recover to get a start in? Sheets is 1-1, 4.82 against the Cubs this year, but 0-1, 10.13 in his start at home.
4. If Suppan or Bush struggle early on, who will Dale Sveum call upon for long relief–Manny Parra or Seth McClung?
5. The bottom line…can the Brewers win two or all three games to get into the playoffs?