The Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers open a three-game series in Milwaukee on Friday night. The two teams have split their first six meetings this season, with the home team going 4-2.
The Chicago Cubs 55-47 and currently tied for first place in the NL Central with the St Louis Cardinals. The division has been tight all year long, which means this upcoming series in Milwaukee will have a big impact on the standings moving forward. The Cubs are just 19-29 on the road this year so they will have to bring their best to compete this weekend.
Starting for the Cubs will be right-hander Kyle Hendricks. Aside from a 7-8 record, Hendricks has put together a solid season so far this year. He has 95 strikeouts this season and currently carries a 3.41 ERA, which is just below the team average of 4.04. Hendricks was originally supposed to start in Saturday’s matchup until Cubs manager Joe Maddon shuffled the starting rotation.
All of the Cubs’ big-name players have really stepped it up in the batter’s box to lead the team this year. The 2018 NL MVP runner-up, Javier Baez, leads the team with 25 home runs. He also has a .290 batting average and 68 runs batted in. Kris Bryant leads the team with .299 average while Anthony Rizzo leads with 69 RBI. Altogether, the Cubs have the roster to win the division but need to put everything together and get hot if they want to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
Looking Up At Leaders
The Brewers are now 54-50, two games behind both the Cardinals and Cubs in the division. Milwaukee played great last year and looks to play in October again this season but, much like the Cubs, need to get all the pieces moving in the right direction if they want to do that. The Brewers will be playing this series in Milwaukee, where they are 31-23 this season.
Getting the start for the Brewers will be 33-year-old Gio Gonzalez. Gio is 2-1 this season with a 3.60 ERA and 27 strikeouts. In his last outing, Gonzalez was not a factor in the decision as the Brewers went on to win their game against the Diamondbacks, 8-3. The veteran will look to slow down the division-rival Cubs and get the Brewers heading back to the top of the division.
The 2018 NL MVP, Christian Yelich, leads the Brewers in, well, just about everything. Yelich has a .335 average, 35 home runs and 77 runs batted in, well on his way to another outstanding season. Milwaukee has a solid roster overall and will continue to follow Yelich in what should be an absolute dogfight for the division during the rest of the regular season.
What To Expect
This should be a good series between two rival teams in the same division. Although Milwaukee is at home, I like the Cubs to go into their stadium and take the momentum and win. Look for Hendricks to be solid and the Cubs to win in a low-scoring game.