A year ago today, the Cubs entered action with a 4½-game lead in the N.L. Central. They played a rainout makeup game at Atlanta that night and won it, maintaining that lead over the Brewers.
You all know how the rest of 2018 ended up and it’s not my purpose here to rehash that. Rather, I will point out that the Cubs have won eight of their last 11 and with two games remaining in August, have a 15-11 mark this month. If they win both of those games, that would give them the most wins in any calendar month in 2019.
Before the series in New York began, Theo Epstein acknowledged the urgency of the rest of this season:
“We’ve been waiting to put it all together and be the best version of ourselves, and I think we all know in this clubhouse it has to happen really soon for us to get to where we want to go,” Epstein said before the Cubs beat the Mets 3-2 in the opener of a three-game series to remain three games behind the Cardinals.
“It’s that time of year. It’s on us to make that happen.”
So far, they are making it happen, with the sweep of the Mets and a gain of 1½ games in the division standings.
I’ve got the sense that this team is about to go on a memorable run. Ready?
Here are today’s particulars.
Jose Quintana, LHP vs. Chase Anderson, RHP
Before 2019, it was pretty much gospel that Jose Quintana was going to dominate the Brewers. This year: Not so much. So far in 2019, Jose has a 7.08 ERA and 1.525 WHIP in four starts against Milwaukee, by far his worst numbers against any team he’s faced more than once.
So let’s hope that Jose’s recent performance — a 2.40 ERA and 1.000 WHIP in five starts in August — will be more reflective of what we can expect this afternoon.
That’s about all I’ve got. Q has been worse at home than on the road and worse in day games than night games this year. I think you can see that’s got to turn around, and in a hurry.
The Brewers entered this series 19-22 vs. LH starters. Let’s hope that keeps going.
Chase Anderson has had an up-and-down year. He started the year in Milwaukee’s bullpen, and in 21 starts has thrown six full innings in just two of them. He did throw five credible innings (two runs) against the Cubs July 27 at Miller Park, but he has been much worse (5.40 ERA, 1.600 WHIP) in 11 games on the road than in 15 games at home (3.63 ERA, 1.045 WHIP).
In 2017 or 2018 this would have been a matchup of top starters for the respective teams. Now, it’s a game between starters who have struggled. Let’s hope Q is the one who figures things out.
Today’s game is on WGN. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Brewers market territories).
SB Nation game preview
Please visit our SB Nation Brewers site Brew Crew Ball. If you do go there to interact with Brewers fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.
The 2019 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used in previous years. Here’s how it works.
You’ll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).
At the same time, a StoryStream containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream “Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads” so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap in the box marked “Chicago Cubs Game Threads” at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in the game’s StoryStream as noted above.
The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.