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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Brewers series preview

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What, YOU ... yet AGAIN?

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

I wrote Thursday about how crazy it seems to face the Brewers this many times before April is even over. (More in the “fun fact” below.)

But here we are, and since they last faced the Cubs, they lost two of three to the Pirates at home, then swept the Padres in San Diego.

That seems backwards, right? This is just one of many things that feel odd about baseball three weeks into the 2021 season. The Brewers rank sixth in the NL with 79 runs scored — just five more than the Cubs. It’s their pitching that’s brought them to the top of the NL Central with an 11-7 record entering this series — they lead the league in fewest runs allowed with 55.

I’d say Milwaukee’s pitching is good — but it’s not that good. We’ll see over the weekend. For more on the Brewers, here’s Kyle Lesniewski, manager of our SB Nation Brewers site Brew Crew Ball.

Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, and Kolten Wong are all on the IL. Keston Hiura has a .466 OPS. In fact, the offense has a collective .660 OPS, worst in the National League. And yet, they rank 6th among Senior Circuit teams at 4.39 runs per game, and lately have gotten timely contributions from Omar Narvaez, Billy McKinney, Jace Peterson, and Daniel Vogelbach to support the NL’s best pitching staff by runs allowed per game (3.06). After a sweep of the Padres, it all adds up to a first-place 11-7 record and +24 run differential.

The Cubs will miss Corbin Burnes and his insane K/BB rate, but will still have to work against strikeout artists Freddy Peralta and Brandon Woodruff in the two weekend games. Brett Anderson goes in game one, and Milwaukee’s defense has done well behind him. The bullpen, however, has been questionable at times after closer Josh Hader. With Devin Williams still working into form after a shortened Spring Training, Brad Boxberger, Brent Suter, and JP Feyereisen are getting high-leverage opportunities.

Fun fact

After this series, the Cubs will have played nine of their first 21 games against the Brewers. Following Sunday’s game, the teams won’t meet again until June 28, which is scheduled to be Game 79 for the Cubs this year. They’ll play just one more series at Wrigley this year, August 9-10-11-12.

Pitching matchups

Friday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (0-2, 6.92 ERA, 1.692 WHIP, 8.08 FIP) vs. Brett Anderson, LHP (2-1, 2.65 ERA, 1.118 WHIP, 5.14 FIP)

Saturday: Adbert Alzolay, RHP (0-2, 6.10 ERA, 0.968 WHIP, 4.54 FIP) vs. Freddy Peralta, RHP (2-0, 2.00 ERA, 1.111 WHIP, 3.25 FIP)

Sunday: Jake Arrieta, RHP (3-1. 2.86 ERA, 1.273 WHIP, 3.86 FIP) vs. Brandon Woodruff, RHP (1-0, 1.96 ERA, 0,739 WHIP, 1.74 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Friday: 1:20 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Brewers market territories)

Saturday: 1:20 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Sunday: 1:20 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Prediction

Both teams are coming off sweeps.

These pitching matchups seem favorable to the Cubs, so I’ll say they’ll take two of three.

Up next

The Cubs travel to Atlanta for a four-game series against the Braves beginning Monday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Brewers?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    3
    (17 votes)
  • 34%
    2
    (57 votes)
  • 43%
    1
    (72 votes)
  • 12%
    0
    (21 votes)
167 votes total Vote Now