Alright. Nothing like a solid 8-0 win against your rivals and one of the hottest teams in the NL Central after being shutout twice and sitting on the sidelines during a rain out and an off-day, right?
Speaking of that 8-0 win …
The Chicago Cubs +8 run differential is 9th best in MLB, fourth best in the National League, and leads the NL Central.
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) April 6, 2018
Sure, their 4.50 runs scored per game ranks 13th in MLB, but that’s just half the story. Turns out the Cubs pitching (thank you, bullpen) and defense has been pretty darn good this season, and it’s turned into one of the better run differentials (which are good at predicting future success) in baseball. Yes, OBVIOUSLY it’s been just a handful of games and you shouldn’t look too far into it, but as of now, the Cubs are still projected to have the best record in the NL by the end of the year. There’s nothing wrong with being happy that it’s still true.
But let’s save this stuff for an off-day, because we’ve got ourselves a game tonight.
Kyle Hendricks is taking the mound against the Milwaukee Brewers, after a solid first start of the year in Miami: 6.0 IP, 4H, 1ER, 3BB, 5K. Hendricks allowed a few more free passes than normal last time, so we’ll see if he can rein that in. Not that you’ll be surprised, but Hendricks was also a master of contact his last time out, inducing a massive 62.5% ground ball rate, 25% infield fly ball rate, 25% soft-hit rate, and 12.5% hard-hit rate. You can’t draw it up better than that.
On the other bump is Brewers righty Brandon Woodruff. Woodruff hasn’t started a game yet this season, but he has come out of the bullpen twice. In his first appearance, he allowed one earned run on three hits, walked none, and struck out one in 2.0 IP. And in his second appearance, he allowed another earned run on three hits (including a homer), now walks, and two strikeouts in 1.1 IP.
Woodruff doesn’t have many Major League innings to his name, but in the 46.1 innings he has thrown, lefties have killed him (.381 wOBA) while he’s mostly kept righties at bay (.265 wOBA). Those are some really big splits, so look for the Cubs lefties to do some damage tonight.
Chicago Cubs (3-3) at Milwaukee Brewers (4-3) – 7:10 CT on NBC Sports Chicago+, 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: Kyle Hendricks (R): 1.50 ERA, 3.30 FIP; 1.67 K/BB
Brewers: Brandon Woodruff (R): 5.40 ERA, 5.06 FIP; 3.00 K/BB
Milwaukee Brewers Lineup:
- Lorenzo Cain, CF
- Eric Thanmes, 1B
- Ryan Braun, LF
- Travis Shaw, 3B
- Domingo Santana, RF
- Manny Pina, C
- Jonathan Villar, 2B
- Orlando Arcia, SS
- Brandon Woodruff, P
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Ben Zobrist, RF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Willson Contreras, C
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Addison Russell, SS
- Jason Heyward, CF
- Javy Baez, 2B
- Kyle Hendricks, P