This week will be a very important week for the Chicago Cubs, especially this four-game set against a division rival. The Cubs beat the Brewers on Opening Day at Wrigley Field, then lost the next two. They haven’t seen the Brewers since then — and yes, I still hate the balanced schedule.
For more on the Brewers, here’s Harrison Freuck, managing editor of our SB Nation Brewers site Brew Crew Ball.
The Brewers have had just as many ups and downs as any other NL Central team this season. Despite a fast 18-9 start, they’ve gone just 27-30 since and are tied with the Reds for the division lead entering Monday’s action.
Much of Milwaukee’s struggles can be attributed to poor hitting, as the Crew sits with the worst batting average, OBP, and slugging in the NL. They’ve been especially bad against left-handed starters, an anomaly that has put the league on notice — the Brewers just took three of four from the Mets in New York, beating both Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander but being held to six scoreless innings against lefty David Peterson, who entered the game with an ERA over 8.
The team’s pitching staff has been good, but not great. With Brandon Woodruff missing most of the first half of the season and several other starters also being forced to spend time on the injured list, Craig Counsell has had to rely on pitchers like Colin Rea and Julio Teheran in the first half. Corbin Burnes has also not been his dominant self so far (4.00 ERA through 17 starts), although he has shown flashes of his Cy Young form at times.
Given Milwaukee’s inconsistencies and the fact that they’re in the midst of a stretch with 17 games in 17 days, I’ll take a split in the four games over the holiday week.
The Cubs’ next win at Milwaukee will be their 100th there against the Brewers. They have lost 108. It will be a long time after that before the Cubs gain their next 100th victory on the road in another city. Their next-highest total is just 52, at both Denver (59 losses) and Miami (57). The Cubs won 53 games at Milwaukee against the Braves in 1953-65 and lost 82. The Cubs were 4-1 at Milwaukee in 1878, the Grays’ only season in the National League. Those add up to 156-191, which means Wednesday’s game will be the Cubs’ 350th at Milwaukee against a hometown team. The Cubs also played two games at Milwaukee hosted by the Astros in 2008 and one each there hosted by the Buffalo Bisons and the Providence Grays, both in 1885.
The Cubs are 110-103 at home against the Brewers, so they trail in the rivalry, 211-209. They have outscored the Brewers in those games by exactly 11 runs.
(Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)
Probable pitching matchups
Monday: Drew Smyly, LHP (7-5, 3.96 ERA, 1.286 WHIP, 4.60 FIP) vs. Julio Teheran, RHP (2-3, 2.85 ERA, 0.927 WHIP, 5.09 FIP)
Tuesday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (3-3, 2.81 ERA, 0.960 WHIP, 3.64 FIP) vs. Wade Miley, LHP (5-2, 3.02 ERA, 1.059 WHIP, 4.53 FIP)
Wednesday: Justin Steele, LHP (9-2, 2.43 ERA, 1.031 WHIP, 2.80 FIP) vs. Adrian Houser, RHP (3-2, 3.88 ERA, 1.511 WHIP, 4.30 FIP)
Thursday: Marcus Stroman, RHP (9-6, 2.76 ERA, 1.087 WHIP, 3.29 FIP) vs. Freddy Peralta, RHP (5-7, 4.67 ERA, 1.304 WHIP, 4.64 FIP)
Times & TV channels
Monday: 1:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Brewers market territories)
Tuesday: 3:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network
Wednesday: 7:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network
Thursday: 1:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Brewers market territories)
Like Harrison Freuck, I’ll settle for a split, but if the Cubs really want to contend in the N.L. Central, they have to aim for three of four. The pitching matchups look reasonably favorable, anyway. Hopefully, the Cubs can at least keep the game times straight, with three different starting times and not at the same time two days in a row in this four-game series.
The Cubs head to New York to take on the Yankees in a three-game series at Yankee Stadium beginning Friday evening.
How many games will the Cubs win against the Brewers?
This poll is closed