Right-hander Scott Baker will make his Cubs debut in Sunday's rubber game against the Brewers. It will also be his first Major League start in more than two years.
Baker's last big league start came on Aug. 8, 2011 as a member of the Twins. He had Tommy John surgery in April 2012 and signed as a free agent with the Cubs in November. He has made eight rehab starts this season between Class A Kane County and Class A Advanced Daytona.
"It's been a long while since I started a Major League game, and there's definitely a lot to be excited about," Baker said. "Regardless of the results, I think you go out there and do the best you can and enjoy it. You never know when things are going to be taken away from you. You appreciate every start."
Sunday's start will be particularly important for Baker, who signed a one-year deal with the Cubs and will become a free agent after the season. Manager Dale Sveum said that the 31-year-old will be capped at 100 pitches in his first start back.
"He's done everything we've asked. He's the ultimate professional," Sveum said. "It's not an evaluation or anything like that as much as letting him get on the mound and let him see himself. The winter will take care of itself."
Yovani Gallardo will start for the Brewers, who improved to 23-24 since the All-Star break with Saturday's win. In his last start Tuesday against the Pirates, Gallardo battled through high pitch counts early in the game to work seven solid innings. Since coming off the disabled list, he is 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA in four starts.
"Earlier in the year, it could have been the total opposite of what it was today," Gallardo said after his last start. "After the first few innings, I tried to settle down and keep the ball down in the zone, have them swing the bat. I was able to do that."
Brewers: Davis, Gomez get a breather
The Brewers won Saturday, 5-3, even without two of their starting outfielders in the lineup.
Left fielder Khris Davis was out for a second consecutive game after pinching a tendon in his left wrist on Wednesday. Center fielder Carlos Gomez, meanwhile, received a day off after manager Ron Roenicke saw him limping Friday. Gomez sprained his right knee while making a catch on Aug. 15.
"[His knee is] not acting up, [the pain] is still there," Roenicke said. "Sometimes when I watch him out on the field, I think I need to give him a day off."
Gomez entered Saturday's game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning and flied out to center field. He also made a sprawling catch to end the game.
Cubs: Sveum not concerned about motivation
Though the Cubs haven't been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, their 60-81 record makes the postseason a near impossibility. Given this fact, and the youth of lineup, Sveum was asked about keeping his players motivated at this point in the season.
"When you have the right people and guys who care, there's still preparation and guys who care about their performance," Sveum said. "We're in a good spot where we have guys who are trying to win jobs for next year and want to do the best they can. I've never had a problem with motivation or the way they play the game."
• With his appearance Friday, reliever Justin Grimm became the 31st player to make his debut with the Cubs this season. His appearance marked a franchise record, passing the 30 players that debuted with the team in 1902.
• The Brewers are 30-40 on the road this season, but they have won four of their past six road series.
• Of the 25 players on the Cubs' Opening Day roster last season, only five are still on the team: Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, James Russell, Jeff Samardzija and Luis Valbuena.
Tom Schad is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.