The Milwaukee Brewers welcome the Chicago Cubs into town today for a three-game set between the storied rivals. The Brewers (31-43) are coming off a series win against the Atlanta Braves while the Cubs (31-43) took two of three from the Houston Astros.
These two clubs share the cellar in the NL Central (ugh, sharing anything with the Cubs just sucks.) This series will determine who stays there for the time being. Let’s get to the predictions.
Kyle Lohse has been throwing the ball extremely well as of late despite his lack of run support. In the month of June, Lohse has compiled a 2.08 ERA and has held opponents to just a .227 batting average. The 34-year-old is finally starting to pitch like owner Mark Attanasio thought he would.
Edwin Jackson, on the other hand, has been a waste of money for the Cubs. Chicago signed him to a four-year, $52 million contract in the offseason but with a 5.49 ERA, Jackson has come nowhere close to living up to that.
The Brewers have beaten Jackson twice already this season, including the game on April 8th in which the right-hander allowed five earned runs in six innings. Granted, that was with Ryan Braun in the lineup, who collected three hits.
David DeJesus (who, luckily, is on the disabled list) and Alfonso Soriano have owned Lohse in their careers. DeJesus is hitting .462 with an OPS of 1.174 while Soriano has a .377 average with four home runs against Lohse. While the Brewers’ right-hander won’t have to worry about DeJesus, he ‘d better be mindful of Soriano’s bat.
Even though the Crew took the series from the Braves, they haven’t been playing well. Their starting pitching has come around nicely but timely hitting is near impossible for this group of players. I think they need to give Nyjer Morgan a call – the definition of clutch.
If Lohse can limit the Cubs’ pathetic excuse for a lineup to two or fewer runs, the Brewers will take game one of the series. If he doesn’t and Milwaukee’s bats continue to falter, it could be another excruciating game for Brewers’ fans to watch.
Prediction: Brewers 5 Cubs 3
Scott Feldman (6-6, 3.39) vs Yovani Gallardo (6-6, 4.09)
Feldman has been a nice little surprise in the Cubs starting rotation. He’s posting a career-best 3.39 ERA and threw his first complete game on May 1. during which he struck out a career-high 12 batters. So far, the 30-year-old looks like Chicago’s best free agent signing of the winter.
To counter that, Yovani Gallardo has had a down season. He definitely hasn’t pitched like an ace nor a No. 2 starter. His name has started to float around in trade rumors although I don’t see Melvin giving up on Yo unless he’s blown away by the return. But Gallardo may have turned it around; he has a 1.67 ERA in his last four starts.
The Brewers haven’t seen much of Feldman. Feldman did take the loss against the Crew back in April (5 innings, 1 ER) but that was the first time many of them had faced him. The only Brewer on the roster who has faced him more than ten times is the one and only Yuniesky Betancourt (how he’s still on the roster, I have no idea). Betancourt is 6-for-18 against Feldman in his career.
This will be a low scoring affair and could even be an extra inning game. Gallardo will go six innings while Feldman one ups him by going seven, but it will be up to the bullpens to keep it close.
Prediction: Cubs 2 Brewers 1
Matt Garza, who was activated from the disabled list on May 21, has been a shot in the arm for the Cubbies. He has a 4.25 ERA but take away the start in which he allowed nine runs in five innings, and he has been dominant. The Cubs would be wise to trade him ASAP.
Brewers’ top prospect (I know, that’s not saying much) Wily Peralta is coming off his best start of the year. He went seven innings and only allowed two hits in a win over Atlanta. But other than that, it’s been a grind for the 24-year-old. Peralta faced the Cubs at Wrigley back in April, settling for a no-decision.
The current Cubs roster is batting only .234 against Peralta while the Brewers are batting .196 against Garza. That being said, Milwaukee will have a tough time against Garza, especially with big bats like Braun and Corey Hart absent from the lineup.
Sorry fellow Brewers’ fans, but I see Garza throwing a complete game on Thursday night.
Prediction: Cubs 7 Brewers 2
-Jonathan Lucroy will homer twice
-Jean Segura will triple at least once
-Three batters will be plunked in the series
-Anthony Rizzo will bat over .600
-Dale Sveum will be ejected in Game 2
It’s going to be a tough next three days for Milwaukee. Losing a series is always tough, but losing to the likes of the Cubs is cause for antidepressants. Better get to the pharmacy quick.
How do you think the Brewers will fair against the Cubs? Let us know in the comment section!