Thanks in part to their big advantage in head-to-head matchups, the Milwaukee Brewers hold a slight edge over the Chicago Cubs in the fight to stay out of the NL Central cellar.
The Brewers should have a good chance to add to that success with Kyle Lohse on the mound.
Lohse looks to lead Milwaukee to its ninth victory in 13 games in the season series Friday at Wrigley Field.
After snapping a five-game losing streak with a 9-3 win over Pittsburgh on Wednesday, the Brewers (60-79) hope to avoid falling back to the bottom of the division as they open this three-game set with the Cubs (59-80).
The Brewers are playing better on the road as of late, winning nine of 14. That's also been the case at Wrigley, where they've won four of six.
They'll try to continue that trend behind Lohse (9-8, 3.32 ERA), who held the Angels to one run over six innings - despite giving up seven hits with just one strikeout - before the Milwaukee bullpen blew a two-run lead in Sunday's 5-3 loss at Miller Park.
"He did not have his good command,'' manager Ron Roenicke said. "I thought it was great, getting us to the sixth with just giving up one run. He really battled well.''
The right-hander, however, has been on top of his game on most occasions recently. He's 8-2 with a 2.66 ERA over his last 17 starts, ranking in the NL top 10 in wins, ERA and innings pitched (105) since June 9.
Lohse has also gone 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA in his last four outings versus the Cubs, most recently holding Chicago to five hits over six innings at Wrigley on July 29 before the Brewers scored five in the ninth for a 5-0 victory.
Anthony Rizzo has gone 3 for 5 with a double when facing Lohse this season and is hitting .367 in his last eight versus Milwaukee.
Teammate Dioner Navarro seeks his fifth straight multi-hit game overall, going 8 for 18 over his last four.
The Cubs managed to avoid getting swept at home by the lowly Marlins on Wednesday when Donnie Murphy capped a four-run seventh inning with a two-run homer in a 9-7 victory.
"I've come through in those situations before and for some reason I'm comfortable in `em,'' said Murphy, who is 7 for 18 with four home runs in the seventh or later with his team ahead by one run, tied or with the tying run on base, at bat or on deck.
Chris Rusin (2-3, 2.74) hasn't given up more than two earned runs in any of his last five starts, though he's 1-2 with a 1.86 ERA while receiving just seven runs of support over that span.
"I think the biggest thing for him maturity-wise is making the pitches when he has to make them," manager Dale Sveum told the league's official website. "That's been the difference."
The left-hander seeks his first win at home, where he's 0-3 with a 4.15 ERA in four starts.
Rusin yielded one run and one hit over five innings in his only career start against the Brewers, but received no run support in a 5-2 loss at Miller Park on Aug. 21, 2012.
Jean Segura is 5 for 12 with four extra-base hits at Wrigley this season. He missed Wednesday's win due to illness, but is expected to play Friday.