There can be no let up if the Cubs want to catch the Pirates for the top Wild Card spot. No, the Brewers aren’t the Pirates or Cardinals in terms of their roster these days, but they can still win some games.
We’re Going Streaking
The Cubs took two of three from the Cardinals after taking three of four from the Pirates. However you slice it, that’s a heck of a great stretch. The Cubs are 2.0 games behind the Pirates (who are 4.0 games behind the Cardinals) right now.
The Brewers will play quite a role in the shakeout of the Central in these next couple weeks, and they recently lost three of four to the Pirates and got swept by the Cardinals. Most recently, they dropped two of three to the Reds. At 63-86, they’re jockeying for draft position at this point.
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Monday, September 21 at 7:05 CT on CSN.
- Tuesday, September 22 at 7:05 CT on CSN+.
- Wednesday, September 23 at 7:05 CT on CSN.
And, if you’re not in the blackout region, you can always watch on MLB.tv.
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.
Starters: Jason Hammel (3.73 ERA, 3.72 FIP; 4.08 K/BB), Jake Arrieta (1.96 ERA, 2.51 FIP; 4.45 K/BB), Kyle Hendricks (4.22 ERA, 3.66 FIP; 3.46 K/BB)
- Dexter Fowler, CF
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Chris Coghlan, RF
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Miguel Montero, C
- Javy Baez/Starlin Castro/Tommy La Stella, 2B
- Addison Russell, SS
Starters: Wily Peralta (4.41 ERA, 4.82 FIP; 1.76 K/BB), TBA, Zach Davies (6.00 ERA, 4.77 FIP; 1.17 K/BB)
- Scooter Gennett, 2B
- Elian Herrera, 3B
- Ryan Braun, RF (in and out with a back issue)
- Adam Lind, 1B
- Khris Davis, LF
- Logan Schafer, CF
- Jean Segura, SS
- Martin Maldonado, C
Hot or Not and Whom to Watch
I’m afraid to say it out loud, because the velocity is still quite a bit down from last year, but … how good has Neil Ramirez looked in his last two outings?
Also looking good lately: Pedro Strop. Since his tough outing in St. Louis, Strop has gone 5.1 innings in 6 appearances, allowing no earned runs, no walks, just two hits, and striking out five.
The Tommy La Stella lovers among you can rejoice: with a .260/.327/.420 line, La Stella’s Cubs wRC+ is now above average (105), justifying what many observers thought he could be doing based on his approach. It stinks that the guy was hurt for most of the season, because I honestly believe there was a time when he would have been a critical piece. As it stands, even with an overloaded infield and bench, La Stella is still drawing starts and and sub-in opportunities. That should tell you something.
What an ugly year it’s been for Jonathan Lucroy, who’s recovering from a concussion, and missed time earlier this year with other injuries. After being one of the most valuable players in baseball the last couple years (when you include receiving), he’s hitting just .259/.322/.390 in 94 games, with his defense appearing to take a step back, too.
Although I don’t have him in the lineup up there, Domingo Santana will play in this series, as the youngster is hitting .291/.388/.558 and is a likely future staple in the Brewers’ outfield.
Random note: since being traded by the Brewers to the Orioles, Gerardo Parra has hit just .225/.253/.354 (59 wRC+). That was after hitting .328/.369/.517 with the Brewers and becoming a top rental target. I’m going to remember this as an anecdote in future years when the Cubs don’t get a particular trade target. I’d say things have worked out exceedingly well for the Cubs in the outfield since the Trade Deadline.