What'll It Be ... First or Third? Brewers at Cubs, August 2-4, 2019

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What’ll It Be … First or Third? Brewers at Cubs, August 2-4, 2019

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs are just a game out of first place … but they’re also a game out of third. They won’t play the first place Cardinals this weekend, so that first part isn’t entirely within their control, but they CAN squash the Brewers if they win all three games at Wrigley (thank God it’s not on the road).

That wouldn’t be the end of the Brewers season, mind you, but pushing them 4 full games behind the Cubs would create some much-needed breathing room to begin focusing on the Cardinals. I tend to doubt it’ll be that easy, but a guy can dream.

In any case, I don’t think we need to worry about either team right now – and I think most people agree the focus needs to be more internal:

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (57-51) cannot win on the road, cannot score runs, and are on the doorstep of third place. If things don’t go well this weekend, we will not be happy campers.

The Milwaukee Brewers (57-53) have gone just 5-5 in their last ten games, squandering their own opportunity to run away with this division just like the Cubs.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

  • Friday, August 2nd at 1:20 CT on NBCSCH, MLBN 670 The Score
  • Saturday, August 3rd at 1:20 CT on NBCSCH, 670 The Score
  • Sunday, August 4th at 1:20 CT on WGN, TBS, 670 The Score

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Jose Quintana (L) v. Zach Davies (R)
Game 2: Cole Hames (L) v. Gio Gonzalez (L)
Game 3: Yu Darvish (R) v. Adrian Houser (R)

Chicago Cubs

  • C – Willson Contreras
  • 1B – Anthony Rizzo
  • 2B – David Bote/Ian Happ
  • 3B – Kris Bryant
  • SS – Javy Baez
  • LF – Kyle Schwarber
  • CF – Jason Heyward
  • RF – Nick Castellanos

Unavailable: Daniel Descalso, Cole Hamles, Pedro Strop, Xavier Cedeno, Brandon Morrow, Allen Webster, Ben Zobrist

Milwaukee Brewers

  • C – Yasmani Grandal
  • 1B – Eric Thames
  • 2B – Keston Hiura
  • 3B – Mike Moustakas
  • SS – Orlando Arcia
  • LF – Ryan Braun
  • CF – Lorenzo Cain
  • RF – Christian Yelich

Unavailable: Jhoulys Chacin, Jimmy Nelson, Brandon Woodruff

Keep An Eye Out For …

Cubs Pitcher: Cole Hamels is returning to the Cubs this weekend and for a very big series against the Brewers, who’ve been below average (96 wRC+, 15th) against southpaws this season. The Cubs will need him to be the guy he was before he went down with an injury, if they hope to take the division over the next two months.

Cubs Player: Nick Castellanos got off to a good start last night with a walk and a single and will likely be in there a lot this weekend. His start on Saturday against a southpaw, however, is when he’s likely to make the greatest impact. Please help us, Nick. You’re our only hope.

Brewers Pitcher: Gio Gonzalez cannot stop dominating the Cubs this season (and always), but this time, they’ve got a secret weapon: Nick Castellanos’ elite bat against left-handed pitchers. They also just faced Gonzalez last weekend, so the short turnaround should work in their favor. Of course, Gio is a future Hall-of-Famer, so it’s easy to understand why they can’t hit him. 

Brewers Player: Keston Hiura is probably the real deal, which is really too bad for us, because the results have been great so far: .318/.389/.600 (153 wRC+). But he isn’t without his weaknesses. For one, he’s carrying a 31.1% strikeout rate overall this season, which is very high and for another … he’s actually been a lot worse against left-handers (111 wRC+, 33.3% strikeout rate), just as he’s set to face Jose Quintana and Cole Hamels today and tomorrow. Maybe they can neutralize his momentum a bit.

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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami