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brewers logoThe final month of the season has arrived. In recent memory, it feels like the dregs of the season, with other teams in contention and the Cubs merely playing out the string. This year? I’m actually excited to watch one more month of games, and will be bummed when the season is over. Yet another sign that things are turning around for the organization.

We’re Going Streaking

The Cubs nearly took three of four from the Cardinals in St. Louis, but blew a big lead yesterday and came away with a split. Still, the team went 16-14 in August, which was their best post-deadline month in years.

The Brewers have lost five in a row, and, after a long-time divisional lead, are now tied with the Cardinals atop the NL Central, two games ahead of the Pirates. I’ve got no problem with them blowing the division, I’d just prefer it was to the Pirates, not the Cardinals.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Monday, September 1 at 1:20 CT on WGN.
  • Tuesday, September 2 at 7:05 CT on CSN+.
  • Wednesday, September 3 at 7:05 CT on CSN.

Expected Starters and Lineups

These lineups are likely to be pretty close to what actually gets fielded, but you’ll want to check each day’s Pre-Gamin’ post for the actual lineup.

Cubs

Starters: Jacob Turner (4.50 ERA, 3.38 FIP; 1.00 K/BB), Jake Arrieta (2.88 ERA, 2.39 FIP; 3.75 K/BB), Kyle Hendricks (1.91 ERA, 3.41 FIP; 2.83 K/BB)

Lineup:

  1. Chris Coghlan, LF
  2. Javier Baez, 2B
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B (hopefully)
  4. Starlin Castro, SS
  5. Jorge Soler, RF
  6. Luis Valbuena, 3B
  7. Arismendy Alcantara, CF
  8. Welington Castillo, C
  9. Pitcher

Brewers

Starters: Jimmy Nelson (4.10 ERA, 3.66 FIP; 3.00 K/BB), Yovani Gallardo (3.26 ERA, 3.81 FIP; 2.65 K/BB), Matt Garza (3.58 ERA, 3.52 FIP; 2.42 K/BB)

Lineup:

  1. Carlos Gomez, CF
  2. Jonathan Lucroy, C
  3. Ryan Braun, RF
  4. Aramis Ramirez, 3B
  5. Khris Davis, LF
  6. Scooter Gennett/Rickie Weeks, 2B
  7. Mark Reynolds, 1B
  8. Jean Segura, SS
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Jorge Soler makes his Wrigley Field debut in this series, and we’ll see if he wows at home as much as he did on the road.

Jake Arrieta will try to bounce back from a rough outing in Cincinnati. He had great raw stuff, as usual, but his command was all over the place – leading to walks and hard-hit balls on misses in the zone.

Jacob Turner makes his second start in the Cubs’ rotation as he stretches out. He’ll have to be a lot more efficient this time around if he wants to throw more than five innings.

After a protracted slump, Luis Valbuena is way hot again. He’s hitting .318/.375/.727 over his last 12 games with 5 homers.

Jonathan Lucroy has been worth 5.6 WAR this year, and that may not entirely capture his true value (because he’s consistently rated as the top framer in baseball). He was a 3rd round pick in 2007, never made a top 100 prospect list, had a relatively nondescript minor league career, and then didn’t make the big leagues as a full-time starter until he was 25. Pretty amazing that he now is a borderline MVP candidate.

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