When we came into this 11-game stretch against the Cardinals, Reds, and Brewers, I think we were probably hoping to see the Cubs win about seven games to feel really good about it. That target got off to a rough start with just two victories in five tries against the Cardinals, but with two more wins against the Reds, the Cubs could still get to seven this weekend. It would take a sweep, though.
At this point, I’d *definitely* settle for a series win in Milwaukee, bringing the Cubs to 6-5 during this stretch (28-20 overall), while dropping the Brewers to a virtually insurmountable 6.0 games back with 12 games to go (none of which are head-to-head with Chicago), but that won’t be easy. Jon Lester has been struggling and is facing a tough-on-lefties lineup, Kyle Hendricks has had his issues on the road, and Alec Mills only just settled back down in the rotation. Meanwhile, Ian Happ seems to be riding a short, but intense slump and Javy Baez still isn’t right.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals are just 3.0 games behind the Cubs. And now that winning your division is marginally more important, that’s exactly what I want to see happen.
We’re Going Streaking
The Chicago Cubs (26-19) are still just 5-5 over their last 10 games, but they are coming off a series win against the Reds. At this point, a slightly above-.500 finish should give them the division, but either way, they should be heading to the playoffs.
The Milwaukee Brewers (19-22) are currently on the outside looking in with respect to the postseason, and they’re not even the next-man up (the Rockies are the “9th seed” so to speak). They’re also 5-5 over their last 10 games, so this series is undoubtedly their last stand to try to win the division, and alternatively, to at least make a run at the Cardinals.
Game Times and Broadcasts Info
• Friday, September 11th at 7:10 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
• Saturday, September 12th at 6:10 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
• Sunday, September 13th at 1:10 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
Game 1: Jon Lester (L) v. Brandon Woodruff (R)
Game 2: Kyle Hendricks (R) v. Brett Anderson (L)
Game 3: Alec Mills (R) v. Adrian Houser (R)
• C – Willson Contreras
• 1B – Anthony Rizzo
• 2B – Jason Kipnis
• 3B – Kris Bryant
• SS – Javy Baez
• LF – Kyle Schwarber
• CF – Ian Happ
• RF – Jason Heyward
• DH – Victor Caratini/David Bote
Unavailable: Andrew Chafin, Tyler Chatwood, Jose Quintana, Daniel Descalso, James Norwood, Brad Wieck
• C – Omar Narvaez
• 1B – Jedd Gyorko
• 2B – Keston Hiura
• 3B – Luis Urias
• SS – Orlando Arcia
• LF – Christian Yelich
• CF – Avisail Garcia
• RF – Ben Gamel
• DH – Ryan Braun
Unavailable: Ray Black, Manny Pina
Keep An Eye Out For …
Cubs Pitcher: Jon Lester has been struggling so significantly since his first three starts of the season, allowing 24 earned runs over 23.1 IP. Unfortunately, he does not have a soft landing in Milwaukee, where the Brewers have been the sixth toughest offense for left-handed pitching in MLB (122 wRC+). I really don’t know what the Cubs are going to do if they have only Hendricks and Darvish to rely on (in September *or* October), so let’s hope Lester comes out and goes six strong. If he does it against this offense, you’ll know he’s feeling good.
Cubs Player: Jason Kipnis didn’t start either of the last two games against the Reds, after DHing in the series opener. That’s three straight games away from second base. Considering that the two righties starting for the Brewers in this one (particularly Adrian Houser on Sunday) have pretty significant, traditional lefty/righty splits for their careers, you hope Kipnis feeling 100% and back in the starting lineup at second base/DH this weekend.
Brewers Pitcher: Brett Anderson has allowed four earned runs over just 5.0 IP in each of his last two starts, but the Cubs have had issues against left-handed pitching all season long. And, of course, their deadline acquisition of Jose Martinez, who was supposed to help in that regard, hasn’t exactly worked out (he isn’t even on the roster at the moment), so I’m not sure if there’s much reason for hope – especially not with Kris Bryant and Javy Baez scuffling so badly. For what it’s worth, Anderson allowed 2ER over just 4.1 IP against the Cubs in his third start of the season, but he had a couple of nice starts against the Twins and Reds after that.
Brewers Player: Christian Yelich has begun to turn it around in September, hitting .292 with a .469 OBP thanks to a ridiculous 25% walk rate, but it’s not all so impressive. Yelich has also struck out 31.3% of the time this month and has slugged just .458 overall. Yelich is hitting the ball hard enough, but is hitting a lot of grounders. He’s just really not himself, even if he is getting on base.