The Cubs are just one loss away from opening the season with nine series wins vs. just three series losses.
That would typically be pretty un-noteworthy (if not actually good) news if it weren’t for the fact that the three series loses will have come against the Brewers (17-22), Padres (17-23) and Rockies (20-18) – each of whom are teams that don’t look too competitive on paper.
Baseball is weird (and it is fun!)
John Lackey takes the ball tonight for Chicago, and he’s looked pretty good in his last few starts. In his last three, for example, he’s gone 8IP, 7IP, 8IP giving up just 1, 2 and 2 earned runs respectively. He’s also racked up 20 strike outs to just 4 walks over that stretch, while opponents have hit just .152 off of him. This is the guy Lackey really can be for long stretches at a time.
Opposing Lackey is Jimmy Nelson, and I’m not quite sure what I want to say about him. Before last night’s game, I discussed the painfully clear struggles of Chase Anderson in 2016 and he nearly tossed a no-hitter. So, I’ll be judicial, here.
Jimmy Nelson is a pitcher, that uses his right hand. He has not struck out many batters this year, and he has walk a bit more of them than average. Theoretically, the Cubs lineup shouldn’t have too many issues, but baseball is always gonna baseball.
Was that fun for anyone?
Okay, fine. I’ll say a little bit more, but don’t blame me if Nelson throws a perfect game tonight. For his career, Nelson has had pretty pronounced splits, with lefties crushing him (.354 wOBA) and righties struggling a bit more (.278). With that in mind, it’s something of a bummer that Miguel Montero won’t be starting tonight, but at least Tommy La Stella will get his first start since May 11.
In case you forgot, La Stella started the season off scorching hot, before slowing down a bit lately. But even still, he’s hitting .267/.333/.467 in May with just an 18.2% K-rate, and you’ll take that every single time. Lastly, Ryan Braun is sitting for the Brew Crew, and that’s probably a good thing, because he’s been fantastic this season, as well, slashing .364/.429/.576 with 7 HRs and just a 14.6% strike out rate.
Come on, Cubbies. Let’s try not to suck!
Chicago Cubs (27-10) at Milwaukee Brewers (17-22), 7:10 CT on WGN, 670 The Score.
Game Thread and Series Preview
Your game thread is down there in the comments, so have fun. But keep it “safe for work” type fun, all right?
Cubs: John Lackey (R): 3.54 ERA, 3.18 FIP, 3.24 xFIP; 4.70 K/BB
Brewers: Jimmy Nelson: (R): 3.51 ERA, 4.75 FIP, 4.26 xFIP; 2.16 K/BB
Milwaukee Brewers Lineup
1. Jonathan Villar, SS
2. Scooter Gennett, 2B
3. Jonathan Lucroy, C
4. Chris Carter, 1B
5. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, CF
6. Domingo Santana, RF
7. Alex Presley, LF
8. Aaron Hill, 3B
9. Jimmy Nelson, P
Chicago Cubs Lineup
1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Jason Heyward, RF
3. Kris Bryant, LF
4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
5. Ben Zobrist, 2B
6. Tommy La Stella, 3B
7. Addison Russell, SS
8. David Ross, C
9. John Lackey, P