We were so close, man.
The Cubs were so close to finishing June without losing any meaningful ground in the standings relative to the Brewers, who had a farrr easier schedule than the Cubs over the past 3+ weeks. In fact, these two teams were tied pretty much all month until these last three days, when the Cubs lost out to the Dodgers in L.A and the Brewers swept the Rockies in Milwaukee. But now, unfortunately, the Cubs are going into a three-game road series against the Brewers’ toughest three starting pitchers with a 3.0-game deficit from the get-go.
Sure, the schedule ticks down a couples notches after this – Reds, Phillies, Cardinals, All-Star Break, Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Reds, Nationals – but the Cubs could start July with a pretty big gap in the standings if they don’t take care of business this weekend.
Quite a range of possible standings outcomes in a series like this. Tied, down 2.0, down 4.0, down 6.0.
We’re Going Streaking
The Chicago Cubs (42-36) have lost three games in a row and 6 of their past 10. They’ve fallen 3.0 games of first place in the NL Central just a few days before July. The first-place Milwaukee Brewers have won five games in a row and 7 of their past 10.
Game Times and Broadcasts Info
• Monday, June 28th at 7:10 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
• Tuesday, June 29th at 7:10 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
• Wednesday, June 30th at 1:10 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
Game 1: Kyle Hendricks (R) v. Freddy Peralta (R)
Game 2: Zach Davies (R) v. Brandon Woodruff (R)
Game 3: Jake Arrieta (R) v. Corbin Burnes (R)
• C – Willson Contreras
• 1B – Anthony Rizzo
• 2B – Sergio Alcantara
• 3B – Kris Bryant/Patrick Wisdom
• SS – Javy Báez
• LF – Joc Pederson
• CF – Jake Marisnick/Ian Happ
• RF – Jason Heyward/Kris Bryant
Unavailable: Justin Steele, Matt Duffy, Nico Hoerner, David Bote, Trevor Williams, Dillon Maples, Rowan Wick, Jonathan Holder, Austin Romine, P.J. Higgins
• C – Omar Narvaez
• 1B – Keston Hiura
• 2B – Kolten Wong*
• 3B – Luis Urias
• SS – Willy Adames
• LF – Christian Yelich
• CF – Jackie Bradley Jr.
• RF – Avisail Garcia
Unavailable: Andel Perdomo, Lorenzo Cain, Brett Anderson, Daniel Vogelbach, Dylan File, Justin Topa, Mark Mathias, Travis Shaw
By the Numbers:
Cubs: +17 (11th)
Brewers: +11 (13th)
Runs Scored Per Game:
Cubs: 4.23 (18th)
Brewers: 4.09 (20th)
Runs Allowed Per Game:
Cubs: 4.01 (10th)
Brewers: 3.95 (9th)
Keep An Eye Out For …
What’s Up with Yelich? Christian Yelich is having a really strange season. His 19.9% walk rate gives him his .403 OBP, which is great, but a .252 batting average and .399 slugging percentage (.147 ISO) is way out of whack. Then there’s the fact that he’s striking out 28.2% of the time and has just 5 homers and 4 doubles on the year. He’s still 26% better than the league average hitter by wRC+, but this is not the Yelich we came to know in his time with Milwaukee.
The Brewers Starters. The Brewers rotation has 8.7 WAR so far this season, third most in MLB and second most in the NL behind only the Mets. Nearly all of that value comes from their three-headed monster of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta, each of whom the Cubs will face this week. Oh, and Burnes (115 Ks, 10th), Peralta (114 Ks, 11th), and Woodruff (111 Ks, 14th) are among the league strikeout leaders. So, it should be fun weekend. Wait do the Cubs strikeout sometimes?
The Cubs (non-) Offense. I don’t think I even have the energy to describe or define the offensive deficiencies this team has shown this month. They are absolutely lost without Nico Hoerner and Matt Duffy, and even then, I’m not sure their presence will immediately fix anything. Patrick Wisdom remains the Cubs’ offensive leader of the month and he has a 44.6% strikeout rate. That’s how it’s going.
Zach Davies. Three of Davies’ last four starts were excellent, including the last one, which was a no-hitter through six, but the one off-day was a REALLY off-day: 6.0 IP, 7H, 8ER, 3BB, 2K. Which Davies will we get? And while we’re at it … can Kyle Hendricks keep delivering? And will Jake Arrieta do something worth earning another start?