Javier Baez's transition to the major leagues hasn't gone smoothly, but the 21-year-old has shown flashes of his potential as the Chicago Cubs hope their youth movement transitions to success in the near future.
After one of his best performances of his young career, Baez looks to help the Cubs extend their winning streak to four as they face the reeling Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday night at Miller Park.Baez has struck out in 44.6 percent of his at-bats while hitting just .172 since making his big-league debut Aug. 5. He hit the winning home run that day against Colorado, and his free-swinging approach at times has helped show his power with nine homers in 50 games.He's also made 10 errors, but he went 3 for 5 with two runs and two RBIs while also swiping a base in Friday's 6-4 victory over the Brewers. Baez's only other three-hit game was his third as a Cub, when he hit two homers Aug. 7 against the Rockies."His confidence is high," manager Rick Renteria told MLB's official website. "Just like everyone, he understands he needs to make adjustments and knows he needs to do better."Chicago (72-88), which last won four in a row from Aug. 22-26, has been playing plenty of its young talent for the past month-plus. That includes Jorge Soler, who drove in Chris Coghlan with an RBI single in the seventh.Coghlan, the 2009 NL Rookie of the Year with the Marlins, homered on the second pitch of the game.The Cubs' series-opening win dropped Milwaukee to 10-24 since Aug. 20, when it began its free fall from the top of the NL Central standings. The Brewers (81-79) led the division from April 4-Aug. 31.Jean Segura went 3 for 4 with a solo homer and is 6 for 11 over his last three.Milwaukee looks to guarantee finishing above .500 as Wily Peralta takes the mound.Peralta (16-11, 3.62 ERA) has pitched well over his last three outings, going 1-1 with a 1.74 ERA. He allowed one run in seven innings against Pittsburgh on Sunday, but that was enough to saddle him with a 1-0 defeat.The right-hander has received three runs of support in 20 2/3 innings during his hot stretch."When you pitch a game like that, you don't want to lose like that," Peralta said. "But that's a baseball game."The Brewers have been outscored 15-0 in Peralta's three starts against the Cubs this season with Peralta posting a 5.68 ERA and taking the loss in each matchup.Chicago counters with Tsuyoshi Wada, who looks to close out his first season in the majors on a high note. Wada (4-3, 3.22) pitched 7 2/3 innings in his previous two outings combined, but he allowed one run over five in his last start Sept. 18 before the Cubs fell 8-4 to the Los Angeles Dodgers.The left-hander, who has allowed two runs or fewer in eight of his 12 starts, figured his previous outing would be his last after being bothered by a strained left hamstring. However, manager Rick Renteria has opted to give Wada one last start after sending the struggling Edwin Jackson to the bullpen."I feel I've been given another opportunity, and I'm going to try to finish strong and build my confidence with another good outing," Wada told MLB's official website.Wada was solid in his only start against Milwaukee, giving up two runs in 6 2/3 innings of a 4-2 victory Aug. 13.