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Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers preview, Sunday 9/8, 1:10 CT

The Cubs need a win to split this four-game set.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday notes:

  • ABOUT JON: Since joining the Cubs in 2015, Jon Lester is 5-1 with a 1.84 ERA (10 earned runs in 49 innings) in eight starts against Milwaukee. That 1.84 ERA is the lowest for any pitcher with at least 45 innings against the Brewers in that span, and Jon has posted a 2.55 ERA (10 earned runs in 35⅓ innings) in his last six road starts dating to July 6. More on Lester below.
  • ABOUT NICK: Nicholas Castellanos has hit safely in 27 of his 34 games as a Cub, batting .340/.369/.702 (48-for-141) with 12 doubles, 13 homers and 25 RBI. Since he became a Cub August 1, Castellanos’ 48 hits are tied for third-most in the N.L., trailing only Anthony Rendon (50) and Bryan Reynolds (49).
  • SCORING, OR NOT: The Cubs have won seven of their last 11 games since August 27. They have scored 47 runs (6.7 runs per game) in the seven victories while scoring just three runs in the four losses, all of which have been to the Brewers.
  • NOBODY BEATS THE RIZ: Anthony Rizzo has four RBI in the first three games of the current series vs. the Brewers, including a game-winning sac fly on Thursday and a go-ahead bases loaded walk last night. He is hitting .371/.540/.686 (13-for-35) with two doubles, three homers, 12 RBI and eight walks in his last 13 games since August 18.
  • CUB POWER: In his last 32 games since August 2, Kyle Schwarber has batted .281/.378/.677 (27-for-96) with six doubles, a triple, 10 homers, 27 RBI, 13 walks and 15 runs scored.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

This lineup, I like.

Brewers lineup:

Jon Lester, LHP vs. Adrian Houser, RHP

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

This was originally supposed to be Kyle Hendricks’ turn in the rotation. As late as Saturday afternoon, Kyle was listed as today’s starter.

The apparent reason for the change, mentioned by Len Kasper on Saturday’s broadcast (thanks to those who noted this for me in the recap comments, since I was at the game), is to allow Kyle to pitch where he pitches best — at Wrigley Field, likely Friday against the Cardinals. That would give Kyle one additional Wrigley start during the upcoming 10-game homestand.

In the meantime, Jon Lester hasn’t allowed an earned run to the Brewers in 13⅔ innings this year, and the last time he started in Miller Park, July 27, he threw seven shutout innings vs. Milwaukee.

You know, the Cubs used to set up rotations for Lester to avoid the Brewers. That was largely because of their running game, even though (as noted above), Jon’s numbers against Milwaukee are actually quite good. Now they’re pushing him up to face them (still on regular rest because of Wednesday’s off day) because of those good results. Sounds like a plan.

Adrian Houser is the only Brewers pitcher in this series who the Cubs didn’t face last weekend. His only career start vs. the Cubs was August 4 at Wrigley Field, and they hit him pretty hard: nine hits and four runs in five innings, including home runs by Jason Heyward and Kyle Schwarber.

Houser also has three relief appearances vs. the Cubs this year. In those, he threw 4⅔ total innings and allowed two runs on four hits. Current Cubs are hitting .300 against him in a small sample size (12-for-40).

Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

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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.