When a player makes an error at the end of a ballgame, costing his team the win, we often explain that it didn’t really come down to that one, final misstep. Indeed, in almost every case, there were plenty of outs and opportunities (errors, even) earlier in the game contributing, ultimately, to the final score. But still, in the back of our collective mind, I think we all know the rub: he makes the play, he ends the game.
This week’s series against the Brewers – the last one for the Cubs this season – reminds me a lot of this concept. If the Cubs are swept, they’ll lose their hold on first place (or if they lose two of three then later lose that lead), and it’ll be remembered as the defining series of the season. If they win two out of three or better, the same will be true in the other direction.
And while my brain knows it doesn’t really work that way – each team has played nearly 150 games already, including 16 against each other – my heart is already sweating the outcome. And that’s probably because, in the back of my mind, I know the rub (at least, for the Cubs): win this series, win the division. It’s going to be a long week.
We’re Going Streaking
The Chicago Cubs (82-59) lose two of the three games they did manage to squeeze in against the Nationals this weekend, after dropping two of three to the Brewers last week. What was once a fantastic stretch of baseball is quickly becoming a nightmare and their biggest series is now at their feet.
The Milwaukee Brewers (82-62) swept the Giants after taking two of three from the Cubs and are now just two games back in the standings (1 in the win column, three in the loss column) as we enter the final stretch of the regular season.
Game Times and Broadcasts Info
- Monday, September 10th at 7:05 CT on CSNC, 670 The Score
- Tuesday, September 11th at 7:05 CT on WGN, MLBN, 670 The Score
- Wednesday, September 12th at 7:05 CT on ABC-7, ESPN, 670 The Score
- Jon Lester (3.53 ERA, 4.63 FIP; 2.25 K/BB)
- Jose Quintana (4.14 ERA, 4.52 FIP; 2.03 K/BB)
- Kyle Hendricks (3.71 ERA, 3.93 FIP; 3.53 K/BB)
Active Depth Chart:
- C – Willson Contreras
- 1B – Anthony Rizzo
- 2B – Daniel Murphy/Javy Baez
- 3B – Kris Bryant/David Bote
- SS – Javy Baez/Addison Russell
- LF – Kyle Schwarber/Ben Zobrist
- CF – Ian Happ/Albert Almora
- RF – Ben Zobrist/Kris Bryant
Unavailable: Jason Heyward, Brandon Morrow, Yu Darvish, Justin Hancock, Drew Smyly, Mark Zagunis
- Wade Miley (2.12 ERA, 3.57 FIP; 2.00 K/BB)
- Jhoulys Chacin (3.59 ERA, 3.95 FIP; 2.26 K/BB)
- Chase Anderson (3.95 ERA, 5.26 FIP; 2.29 K/BB)
Active Depth Chart:
- C – Manny Pina
- 1B – Jesus Aguilar
- 2B – Travis Shaw
- 3B – Mike Moustakas
- SS – Orlando Arcia
- LF – Ryan Braun
- CF – Lorenzo Cain
- RF – Christian Yelich
Unavailable: Nick Franklin, Jimmy Nelson, Brent Suter, Stephen Vogt
Keep An Eye Out For …
Cubs Pitcher: Carl Edwards Jr. has walked four batters and allowed three hits in his last 1.1 innings pitched. Given that he’s absolutely crucial to the Cubs chances (both this season and in October) even when Brandon Morrow is healthy, the Cubs will need him to turn things around very soon. Like, tonight soon.
Cubs Player: Kris Bryant has had a frustrating return from his lengthy absence. Although he’s rocking a very solid average and on-base percentage (.280/.379), he’s got almost no power to speak of (.080 ISO, .360 SLG). That’s not hard to believe, given the nature of his injury, and it’s not hard to explain away, given the small sample, but I hope he turns that around quickly enough, because the offense needs him.
Brewers Pitcher: Chase Anderson is the only starter the Cubs didn’t see last week when these two teams met, but the Cubs did face him back twice in April (6.0 IP, 2ER and 7.0 IP, 1ER) as well as June (7.0 IP, 0ER). As you can see, he has completely held them in check for 20.0 innings, so let’s hope something significant has been learned since then. (They did it to Jhoulys Chacin, right?)
Brewers Player: Since his four-hit game against the Reds at the end of August, Mike Moustakas has just four hits in his last 29 plate appearances. But, you know, everybody else on the Brewers is hot, so … get ready for a fight.