After a successful home stand, the Chicago Cubs will now head to Wrigley Field North and take on the Milwaukee Brewers in a three-game set at Miller Park.
Following this series, they’ll play their former NL Central foes in the Houston Astros (in Houston) and their current NL Central foes in the St. Louis Cardinals (in St. Louis).
The magic number is dwindling down, and the Cubs have a real shot of clinching the division within the next week or so.
We’re Going Streaking
The Chicago Cubs (88-48) won in dramatic fashion yesterday, which gave them a series-win against the Giants, even though you could argue the Cubs didn’t really play all that well. They’re that good.
Although the Milwaukee Brewers (60-76) just swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in three straight, they have already been mathematically eliminated from the 2016 playoffs. So, uh, ya know. But, hey, they’ve won four straight!
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Monday, September 5 at 12:10 CT on WGN, ESPN, 670 The Score
- Tuesday, September 6 at 7:10 CT on CSN-C+, 670 The Score,
- Wednesday, September 7 at 7:10 CT on CSN-C, 670 The Score
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.
- Kyle Hendricks (2.09 ERA, 3.33 FIP, 3.68 xFIP; 3.56 K/BB)
- Jason Hammel (3.14 ERA, 4.26 FIP, 4.32 xFIP; 2.60 K/BB)
- Mike Montgomery (2.80 ERA, 3.75 FIP, 3.72 xFIP; 2.41 K/BB)
- Dexter Fowler, CF
- Kris Bryant, LF/3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Ben Zobrist, 2B/LF
- Addison Russell, SS
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Javy Baez, 3B/2B
- Willson Contreras, C
Also, Jorge Soler, LF/RF
- Zach Davies (4.07 ERA, 3.97 FIP, 4.00 xFIP; 3.44 K/BB)
- Wily Peralta (5.53 ERA, 5.13 FIP, 4.43 xFIP; 1.86 K/BB)
- Matt Garza (4.57 ERA, 4.44 FIP, 4.63 xFIP; 1.81 K/BB)
- Jonathan Villar, 3B
- Orlando Arcia, SS
- Ryan Braun, LF
- Scooter Gennett, 2B
- Chris Carter, 1B
- Hernan Perez, RF
- Kirk Nieuwenhuis, CF
- Martin Maldonado, C
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
Chicago Cubs – Pitching
Mike Montgomery gets at least one more start, as the Cubs use their huge lead to give guys extra rest. It’s been a mixed bag so far for Montgomery as a starter with the Cubs. He had a very good outing in Colorado, a decent outing in Los Angeles, and a rough outing in the last series against the Giants. Through three starts and 13.1 innings, he has a 4.73 ERA, a 5.92 FIP, and a 4.73 xFIP. You can see the talent and pitchability to be a starter, though, without question.
Kyle Hendricks will look to improve on his baseball-best 2.09 ERA.
Chicago Cubs – Offense
Addison Russell continues to have a solid year at the plate, currently sporting a perfectly average 100 wRC+. Given the Gold Glove-caliber defense at shortstop, that’s really fantastic.
Despite his big day yesterday, Jason Heyward’s post-forced-break-in-Colorado numbers have dipped a bit. He’s hitting .308/.321/.423 in that stretch, which is a 98 wRC+. Obviously a huge improvement from where he was, though. If he’s an “average” bat the rest of the way, I don’t think anyone is complaining.
Sporadic playing time, and frequent pinch-hitting appearances makes for really hard work: Matt Szczur is hitting just .163/.234/.349 since August 10.
Milwaukee Brewers – Pitching
Zach Davies has been one of the Brewers’ clear best two pitchers this year (along with Junior Guerra), and he sports a 4.07/3.97/4.00 ERA/FIP/xFIP line, so … yeah, that pretty much sums it up as far as Brewers pitching has gone this year.
Although, to be fair, Tyler Thornburg and his 1.67 ERA and solid peripherals have been a revelation out of the bullpen. So there’s that.
Milwaukee Brewers – Offense
The Brewers have just one hitter – Jonathan Villar, 118 – that has posted an above-average wRC+ this year in more than 500 plate appearances. Ryan Braun is up there at 134, but he’s missed a fair bit of time.
Brighter days are ahead for the Brewers, who’ll draft high for the next couple years and have already well-stocked their farm system. This year will finish with a thud, though.