Okay, the Cubs lost yesterday and that sucks, but I’d argue that Friday’s game was the worst pitching matchup (on both sides) of the whole weekend. John Lackey and Jimmy Nelson both did their thing, it’s just that Nelson did his thing a little bit better. It happens.
Now it’s time to shrug it off and keep pushing forward.
The Cubs are facing another tough pitcher today in Chase Anderson (3.05 ERA, 3.69 FIP), but he’s not been bullet proof since returning from the DL on August 20: 3.80 ERA, 4.78 FIP. His last start, in particular, revealed his mortality, as he went just 5.1 innings against the Reds allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits and three walks against just four strikeouts. The Cubs can get to him today.
And in case the runs aren’t flowing across home plate, Mike Montgomery will do his best job “filling in” for Jake Arrieta in the rotation. That’s one of the nice things about a six-man rotation – when one guy goes down, the fill-in starter is already stretched out and in a starting mentality.
In the four “starts” he’s made since August 17 (I’m including the 4.1 innings of relief he made for Jon Lester when he left an injury in the second inning), Montgomery has compiled a 1.61 ERA with a 3.09 FIP. He hasn’t struck out many during that stretch (15.3%) but he’s hardly walked anyone either (3.5%). On top of that, he’s getting a brilliant 19.1% hard-hit rate and an even crazier 61.5% ground ball rate.
Those sort of numbers make it extremely difficult for opposing teams to hit homers off Montgomery, which is a really special talent in this current home run environment. Hopefully, he keeps up his ground ball, weak contact ways against the Brewers today and the Cubs can set Milwaukee back to 5.0 games out of first.
P.S. The Brewers 91 wRC+ against southpaws this season ranks among the bottom third of MLB.
Chicago Cubs (77-64) at Milwaukee Brewers (73-68) – 3:05 CT on CSN-C, 670 The Score
Game Thread and Series Preview
Your game thread is down in the comments, so let’s have some good, clean (safe-for-work) fun today.
Cubs: Mike Montgomery (L): 3.38 ERA, 4.07 FIP, 4.32 xFIP; 1.83 K/BB
Brewers: Chase Anderson (R): 3.06 ERA, 3.69FIP, 4.58 xFIP; 2.84 K/BB
- Hernan Perez, 2B
- Domingo Santana, RF
- Ryan Braun, LF
- Travis Shaw, 3B
- Jesus Aguilar, 1B
- Manny Pina, C
- Keon Broxton, CF
- Orlando Arcia, SS
- Chase Anderson, P
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Jon Jay, LF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Ben Zobrist, 2B
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Alex Avila, C
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Javy Baez, SS
- Mike Montgomery, P