Series Preview: Brewers at Cubs, April 23-25, 2021

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Series Preview: Brewers at Cubs, April 23-25, 2021

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs are beginning their third series of the season against the Brewers today, and so far it hasn’t gone well for Chicago (2-4). I’d like to say that they’re fortunate *not* to face Milwaukee again after this series until the end of June (given how hot the Brewers have been), but if the Cubs don’t find a way to beat them this weekend, they might actually WANT some more matchups to help close what could be a widening division gap in a season with less time to prove themselves than usual.

The Brewers could already be the favorite in the NL Central, and this Cubs team needs to prove that it’s a contender *soon* if they hope to avoid a midseason sell-off. Why don’t we start with them just taking two out of three this weekend, eh?

We’re Going Streaking

The Milwaukee Brewers (11-7) have won three games in a row and boast the third best run differential in MLB (behind only the Dodgers and Red Sox). They also just swept the Padres without four of their key starters. Plainly put, they were projected to win the division this season, and yet somehow they still feel better than advertised.

That said, the Chicago Cubs (9-9) just finished a sweep of their own against the New York Mets, which was their first of the year. Sure, they missed some of the Mets top pitching, but Chicago still outscored New York 23-8 after a 16-run offensive outburst on Wednesday (their most runs scored in a game since September of 2019).

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

•   Friday, April 23rd at 1:20 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
•   Saturday, April 24th at 1:20 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
•   Sunday, April 25th at 1:20 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Brett Anderson (R) vs. Kyle Hendricks (R)
Game 2: Freddy Peralta (L) vs. Adbert Alzolay (R)
Game 3: Brandon Woodruff (R) vs. Jake Arrieta (R)

Chicago Cubs

•   C – Willson Contreras
•   1B – Anthony Rizzo
•   2B – David Bote
•   3B – Kris Bryant
•   SS – Javy Baez
•   LF – Ian Happ
•   CF – Jake Marisnick
•   RF – Jason Heyward

Unavailable: Jonathan Holder, Tyson Miller, Rowan Wick, Joc Pederson

Milwaukee Brewers

•   C – Omar Narvaez
•   1B – Keston Hiura
•   2B – Kolten Wong
•   3B – Travis Shaw
•   SS – Luis Urias*
•   OF – Jackie Bradley Jr.
•   OF – Avisail Garcia
•   OF – Billy McKinney*

*Luis Urias has been day-to-day
**Christian Yelich could return on Saturday

Unavailable: Lorenzo Cain, Tim Lopes, Derek Fisher, Christian Yelich, Mark Mathias, Justin Topa, Bobby Wahl

By the Numbers:

Run Differential:
Cubs: -8 (25th)
Brewers: +24 (3rd)

Runs Scored Per Game:
Cubs: 4.11 (11th)
Brewers: 4.39 (14th)

Runs Allowed Per Game:
Cubs: 4.56 (18th)
Brewers: 3.06 (1st)

Keep An Eye Out For …

Brandon Woodruff. Again. The Cubs have faced Brandon Woodruff two times this season, and it … has not gone well so far (combined): 13.0 IP, 4H, 1ER, 1BB, 14Ks. Usually, hitters get the advantage seeing the same pitcher over and over, so … hope? Woodruff made one start since facing the Cubs for the second time, and it was a 1-hit and 1-run, 6.0 inning outing against the Padres. He is very good. And he’s probably mad.

At least his matchup, Jake Arrieta, has looked good this season, including a start against Milwaukee (5.0 IP, 4H, 3ER, 1BB, 5Ks).

Which Kyle Hendricks are we getting? Kyle Hendricks has been up and down through his first three starts of the season, but he was on his game in his start against Milwaukee: 6.0 IP, 4H, 0ER, 1BB, 6Ks. The Cubs will need him to be his usual self (and very soon) if they hope to keep this band together past July.

Injured Brewers. The Brewers have been playing without Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich, Kolten Wong, and Luis Urias, but Wong will return on Friday and Yelich could return on Saturday. Cain is not expected to be back this weekend, but Urias could be. Milwaukee did manage to sweep the Padres without all four, but obviously they’re a stronger team with them all in the lineup.

Adbert Alzolay is back! After taking a brief detour to the alternate site, Adbert Alzolay is returning to the Cubs rotation this weekend. He’s made only two starts this year and both have been against the Brewers. The second was much better than the first – even better than the lines would illustrate (inherited runners scoring and all that) – and I’m happy to have him back.



Author: Michael Cerami

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