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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Brewers series preview

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The Cubs can solidify their division lead by winning this series.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Brewers were expected to contend for the postseason this year after back-to-back visits to October baseball, but they have been a disappointment and could miss out even on this year’s expanded tournament.

For more on the Brewers, here’s Kyle Lesniewski, manager of our SB Nation Brewers site Brew Crew Ball.

The Brewers, plagued by an inconsistent offense, continue to simply tread water. Christian Yelich has quietly rebounded from his slow start, but he and Keston Hiura remain the only everyday players with OPS+ marks above 100. Justin Smoak and Brock Holt have been jettisoned; former Cubs prospect Daniel Vogelbach was claimed off waivers and has gotten off to a solid start with Milwaukee, while Jedd Gyorko, Tyrone Taylor, and Jacob Nottingham have taken advantage of the opportunities they’ve been given and are starting to see their names in the lineup more often. Still, the Brewers have been outscored by 20 runs on the year, and that differential would be even worse if not for the 19-0 walloping they put on Detroit on Wednesday.

The Brewers rank sixth in the National League in ERA, but that number has been carried by a handful of superlative performances rather than a strong group effort. The Cubs will miss starter Corbin Burnes, who has fashioned himself into a legitimate Cy Young contender. They’ll face Brandon Woodruff, who has pitched more than 5.0 innings only thrice in nine starts, Brett Anderson, who has allowed eight earned runs in 10.0 innings over his last two starts, and Adrian Houser, whose new pitch-to-contact approach has yielded a 5.48 ERA on the season. Milwaukee does have possibly the best reliever in baseball in their bullpen — Devin Williams, who is doing his best to wrestle that title away from teammate Josh Hader.

With more than two-thirds of the season now complete, the Brewers sit at 19-22 and are a game back of qualifying for the expanded postseason. There is not much time left for Milwaukee to get on their annual September run, and without some improved play across the board, this club may be in danger of falling short of the playoffs for the first time since 2017.

Fun fact

The last game of this series is a day game. After that the Cubs will play 11 consecutive night games (barring postponements), which will be a franchise record.

Pitching matchups

Friday: Jon Lester, LHP (2-2, 5.80 ERA, 1.413 WHIP, 5.59 FIP) vs. Brandon Woodruff, RHP (2-3, 3.91 ERA, 1.217 WHIP, 3.58 FIP)

Saturday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (5-4, 3.41 ERA, 1.086 WHIP, 3.58 FIP) vs. Brett Anderson, LHP (2-3, 4.64 ERA, 1.394 WHIP, 4.77 FIP)

Sunday: Alec Mills, RHP (4-3, 4.74 ERA, 1.214 WHIP, 5.18 FIP) vs. Adrian Houser, RHP (1-4, 5.48 ERA, 1.453 WHIP, 4.69 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Friday: 7:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Saturday: 6:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Sunday: 1:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, TBS (no blackouts)

Prediction

Although these aren’t the greatest pitching matchups, I think the Cubs can still ride them to taking two of three in this series.

Up next

The Cubs have Monday off, then return to Wrigley Field to face the Indians in a two-game series beginning Tuesday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Brewers?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    3
    (18 votes)
  • 52%
    2
    (75 votes)
  • 24%
    1
    (35 votes)
  • 10%
    0
    (15 votes)
143 votes total Vote Now