Our I-90 friends down south are 2-8 in their last 10 games and just cleaned house. The Milwaukee Brewers are looking to extend their first place NL Central lead.
It’ll be the first meeting between the Brewers and the Cubs since the fire sale that happened prior to the trade deadline in the Windy City. And while the Cubs don’t want to call it a rebuild, that’s exactly what it is.
With Craig Kimbrel, Javy Baez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo among others no longer sporting the historic Chicago pinstripes, the roster has quite the different look to it. Willson Contreras is now the biggest household name in a lineup that finds itself in the bottom half of most major offensive categories. Sure, there are plenty of promising guys that are getting valuable playing time now, but there are sure to be growing pains.
Interestingly enough, after the Brewers 5-4 defeat to the Giants on Sunday, they had the same team batting average (.227) as the Cubs. But the trajectory of the two franchises couldn’t be much more different right now. Milwaukee is in a great spot with their roster moving forward with key players being under team control for the next few years. It’s a compilation of players that should be able to be consistent competitors in the NL.
Meanwhile, the Cubs have a feeling of uncertainty that they haven’t encountered in quite some time. 2014 was the last time they had a losing record…the same year that Javy Baez made his major league debut. When you have the payroll flexibility of a big market team like Chicago and all that cleared space with the departure of those big names, things can change rather quickly, but you still have to push the right buttons and sign the right guys. And it appears some fans have lost trust in GM Jed Hoyer making those correct decisions.
No more Kimbrel nailing down a save in the 9th. No more Baez making crazy plays at shortstop. No more Rizzo launching balls into the seats off one knee. No more Bryant clutch hits to break our hearts. And while there is a sense of relief, it’s also going to be an odd feeling.
With the days leading up to October getting fewer and fewer, it’s key that the Brewers take care of the teams that aren’t performing particularly well in 2021. They only have 18 games against teams that are at least five games below .500 while the Reds have 29 games against those teams. Seven of those 18 are against these Chicago Cubs and the Crew need to capitalize on one of the year-in-and-out contenders throwing in the towel early.
It’s also worth noting that a struggling Cubs team may prompt less Chicago fans to make the hour and a half drive to American Family Field come mid-September. But you never know, they might want to keep “paying to keep the lights on” and watching their team lose (MIL won 18 of last 29 home series). They’ve become pretty used to doing that so even a fire sale of the best players might not stop them.
Perhaps now the tables will turn and Brewers fans will overrun Wrigley Field with chants and cheering.