The Cubs cannot leave tonight’s game with more wins than the Brewers, but they can leave it in first place. With two fewer wins and one fewer loss, the Cubs are currently a half-game back of the Brewers. And having already taken 7 of 8 from the Crew, you have to feel good about their chances.
Especially because tonight’s starter, Jose Quintana, has not only been throwing the ball much better lately, two of his best starts of the year came against the Brewers.
On April 8, Quintana went six scoreless innings in Milwaukee, allowing just three hits and two walks and six strikeouts. He also induced a ton of ground balls (61.5%) that night and kept the hard contact to a minimum (28.6%). Three starts later, Quintana went seven scoreless innings against the Brewers, allowing one less hit (2), one less walk (1), and one more strikeout (7). Once again, he got a ton of grounders (56.3%) and that time he allowed basically no hard contact (12.5%).
If he can come anywhere close to either one of those starts, the Cubs will be in good shape.
Notably, I’ll point out that Albert Almora started in the outfield for both of those starts and he is doing so again tonight. The Brewers haven’t managed much hard contact in the air of Quintana yet this season, but with all that right-handed power, Joe Maddon isn’t taking any chances.
And don’t be mistaken, starting Almora tonight is a little notable. Junior Guerra, the Brewers starter, has been pretty brutal on righties and pretty beatable against lefties this season (more split neutral for his career, but still), and yet the switch-hitting Ian Happ is on the bench. Guerra faced the Cubs once this year and went 6.0 innings allowing just one earned run on three hits and two walks against six strikeouts. Hopefully, they have some more luck this time and leave those familiar problems in the past.
A series win this week would be very good news for the Cubs, so let’s hope they get off to a good start.
Chicago Cubs (37-25) at Milwaukee Brewers (39-26) – 7:10 CT on NBC Sports Chicago+, MLBN (out of market), 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: Jose Quintana (R): 4.20 ERA, 4.08 FIP, 2.16 K/BB
Brewers: Junior Guerra (R): 2.83 ERA, 3.73 FIP; 2.67 K/BB
Milwaukee Brewers Lineup:
- Lorenzo Cain, CF
- Christian Yelich, RF
- Ryan Braun, LF
- Jesus Aguilar, 1B
- Hernan Perez, 3B
- Jonathan Villar, 2b
- Erik Kratz, C
- Orlando Arcia, SS
- Junior Guerra, P
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Willson Contreras, C
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Javy Baez, 2B
- Addison Russell, SS
- Jose Quintana, P