Thanks to last night’s victory, the Chicago Cubs cannot lose their hold on first place tonight. And for that, I am extremely thankful.
But this is still a huge game. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the Brewers realistic hopes of taking the division before the end of the year more or less depend on what happens tonight. Obviously, crazy things can (and often do!) happen, but a three-game deficit (four in the loss column) with 15 games to go is a million times more difficult to overcome than just a one-game difference. And that fact makes it almost as big of a game for the Cubs as it does Milwaukee.
Chase Anderson will take the ball the for the Brewers tonight and he’s been fairly mediocre lately. Over his last six starts (only 29.2 IP), he’s allowed a massive 17 earned runs on a massive 8 home runs. And after a quick peak at how many fly balls he’s allowed (44.8 FB%), he may have forced that upon himself. HOWEVA, don’t get too excited just yet.
As bad as that fly ball rate has been during this stretch, Anderson has generated a ton of weak contact (24.7%) and a ton of infield fly balls (20.5%) lately, indicating that batters have had a hard time squaring him up. So I think that 20.5% HR/FB ratio is probably a bit out of whack. In other words, batters were making hard contact at just the right time.
I have noticed, after thumbing through the data, that Anderson has struggled particularly bad in his second and third trip through the order, but given the strength of Milwaukee’s bullpen, I have to wonder if the Cubs will get many cracks at him that late in the game – regardless of how well things are going.
But maybe it won’t matter. The Cubs are sending a reinvigorated Kyle Hendricks to the mound tonight, and he’s been on fire since, really, the beginning of July. In 13 starts since July 1st, Hendricks has struck out 71 batters to just 11 walks and earned a 3.13 ERA (2.75 FIP). He’s also been an elite contact manager during that stretch, with a 25.1% soft% and 26.4 hard%. Of course, the last time he faced the Brewers, he allowed 4 earned runs in 6.0 innings (but he did strike out 8 batters), so who knows.
We’ve got a big one on our hands tonight, folks. I’m rooting for the Cubs. HBU?
Chicago Cubs (84-60) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (83-63) – Wednesday, September 12th at 7:05 CT on ABC-7, ESPN, 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): 3.71 ERA, 3.93 FIP; 3.53 K/BB
Brewers: Chase Anderson (R): 3.95 ERA, 5.26 FIP; 2.29 K/BB
Milwaukee Brewers Lineup:
- Curtis Granderson, RF
- Christian Yelich, LF
- Lorenzo Cain, CF
- Travis Shaw, 2B
- Mike Moustakas, 3B
- Hernan Perez, SS
- Eric Thames, 1B
- Manny Pina, C
- Chase Anderson, P
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Daniel Murphy, 2B
- Kris Bryant, LF
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Ben Zobrist, RF
- Javy Baez, 3B
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Willson Contreras, C
- Kyle Hendricks, P
- Addison Russell, SS