In this morning’s recap for the Cubs’ Sunday loss to the Dodgers, I detailed a lot of what the Cubs and Brewers have been through schedule-wise over the last month or so.
For more on the Brewers and where they stand entering this important series, here’s Kyle Lesniewski, manager of our SB Nation Brewers site Brew Crew Ball.
The Brewers continue to be carried by their pitching, with the staff ranked sixth overall in the NL by both ERA and FIP. They’ll throw their top three initial out-getters in this series; among starters with at least 70 innings pitched this year, Brandon Woodruff (1.89), Freddy Peralta (2.11) and Corbin Burnes (2.53) all rank in the top-20 of all Major League Baseball. Josh Hader has been mostly untouchable this year, Brent Suter, Brad Boxberger, and Devin Williams have settled into high-leverage roles and pitched effectively, and former Chicago Dog and Schaumburg Boomer Jake Cousins has been quite impressive during the first two outings of his big league career and looks like someone who could ascend into a spot of significance at the back-end.
The offense has improved since the beginning of the year but it still generally meh. Willy Adames has made a huge difference on the field and in the clubhouse, Omar Narvaez is second in baseball in catcher wRC+ (min. 200 PA), and Kolten Wong — when healthy — has been a spark plug at the top of the lineup. Christian Yelich still isn’t hitting for power like he used to, but Keston Hiura did return from a demotion to the minor leagues and hit two home runs over the weekend. Some internal improvements from guys with track records could make a big difference here.
Even with the Senior Circuit’s 10th-ranked offense, the Brewers have outplayed their +11 run differential thanks to their ability to prevent runs with talented pitching and strong defense. They’re 16-8 in June, have won five in a row and seven of their last eight games. The Crew has a three-game division lead and it doesn’t even feel like they’ve played their best baseball yet this season with how inconsistent the offense has been. This should be a fun series!
Since the Cubs returned to contention in 2015, they are 63-52 against the Brewers, 33-27 at Wrigley and 30-25 in Milwaukee.
Probable pitching matchups
Monday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (10-4, 3.84 ERA, 1.258 WHIP, 5.08 FIP) vs. Freddy Peralta, RHP (7-2, 2.11 ERA, 0.864 WHIP, 2.79 FIP)
Tuesday: Zach Davies, RHP (5-4, 4.31 ERA, 1.437 WHIP, 4.60 FIP) vs. Brandon Woodruff, RHP (6-3, 1.89 ERA, 0.758 WHIP, 2.80 FIP)
Wednesday: Jake Arrieta, RHP (5-8, 5,32 ERA, 1.493 WHIP, 5.60 FIP) vs. Corbin Burnes, RHP (3-4, 2.53 ERA, 0.924 WHIP, 1.18 FIP)
Times & TV channels
Monday: 7:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network
Tuesday: 7:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network
Wednesday: 1:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network
These pitching matchups appear quite unfavorable to the Cubs. The Brewers are hot and the Cubs are not.
Thus I have literally no basis for this prediction, but I’m going to say the Cubs will break out of their slump and take two of three. Remember where you heard that first. (And feel free to call me out on it if it’s wrong.)
The Cubs have Thursday off, then begin a three-game series against the Reds at Cincinnati Friday evening.
How many games will the Cubs win against the Brewers?
This poll is closed