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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Brewers series preview

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The Cubs and their division rivals have started the 2019 season quite differently.

This guy is a pretty good player
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Brewers are off to a very good start to their 2019 season. How are they doing this? For that and more on the Cubs’ divisional rival, I asked Kyle Lesniewski, manager of our SB Nation Brewers site Brew Crew Ball, for an update on his team.

I’ll admit, I was pretty nervous about how things would start off for the Brewers this season when camp broke. The losses of Corey Knebel and Jeremy Jeffress were huge blows to a bullpen that once again was supposed to be the team’s greatest strength. Without two-thirds of the so-called “Electric Dudes,” Craig Counsell was looking at a relief corps of Josh Hader and then a bunch of question marks.

So far, things have been working. Guys like Matt Albers, Junior Guerra, and especially Alex Wilson stepped up to fill in the gaps in front of Hader during the first week’s worth of games. Hader has mostly been pitching like a regular capital-C Closer and recorded a save in four of the first six games, tossing five shutout innings. He’s never been used so heavily in terms of appearances before and the manager and front office have stated previously that he needs more rest than a typical reliever, so that will be something to keep an eye on going forward.

The rotation has been solid during the first time-and-a-half through, with each of the young trio of Woodruff/Burnes/Peralta showing flashes of why the org is so high on them. The offense has been doing just enough to win games, led Christian Yelich’s continually jaw-dropping exploits. Mike Moustakas (who still has work to do at 2B), Lorenzo Cain, and Ryan Braun have also chipped in with big hits. With five one-run victories so far, it feels like everything has been breaking Milwaukee’s way. But how long can that high-wire act continue?

Fun fact

Despite some rough times recently, the Cubs are still 12-8 at Miller Park since the beginning of the 2017 season.

Pitching matchups

Friday: Jose Quintana, LHP (0-0, 4.50 ERA, 2.250 WHIP, 1.18 FIP) vs. Brandon Woodruff, RHP (1-0, 3.60 ERA, 1.400 WHIP, 1.53 FIP)

Saturday: Cole Hamels, LHP (0-0, 9.00 ERA, 1.800 WHIP, 5.73 FIP) vs. Corbin Burnes, RHP (0-0, 7.20 ERA, 1.400 WHIP, 6.53 FIP)

Sunday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (0-1, 4.15 ERA, 3.000 WHIP, 9.16 FIP) vs. Zach Davies, RHP (0-0, 3.60 ERA, 1.600 WHIP, 3.53 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Friday: 7:10 p.m. CT, WGN

Saturday: 6:10 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago Plus, FS1 (no blackouts)

Sunday: 1:10 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago, MLB Network (outside Chicago and Milwaukee market territories)

Prediction

It has been a long time since I picked the Cubs to lose a series, so long that I can’t remember when. But given the way these teams have started, I think the Brewers will take two of three, and I hope I turn out to be wrong.

Up next

The Cubs return to Wrigley Field and will open the home season Monday against the Pirates, the first of a three-game series.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Brewers?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    3
    (48 votes)
  • 17%
    2
    (55 votes)
  • 23%
    1
    (75 votes)
  • 44%
    0
    (140 votes)
318 votes total Vote Now