What a great series that was. The offense produced a ton of runs, and the pitching was able to limit the Reds’ potent offense. It was the first series sweep we’ve seen the Cubs complete all year, and it could not have come at a better time. Before the series started, there was much talk about how the offense was struggling, and a few questions about how some of the players fit in the lineup. We haven’t seen the Cubs coast to relatively easy wins consecutively in a while, and I had forgotten what that felt like. It is a great feeling.
Now that that series is out of the way and the Cubs have gained confidence, the division leading Milwaukee Brewers come to town with a one game lead over the Cardinals and a two game lead over the Cubs. The Brewers have won 15 of their last 22 games, so they come to Wrigley fairly hot.
So far in the season series, the Cubs have gone 4-2 against the Brewers, scoring 38 runs while giving up 29 runs. In the season series, the Brewers have gone yard 12 times and have driven in 16 off of those home runs. That comprises 55.1% of their entire run production against the Cubs, which means they don’t really manufacture runs against the Cubbies. In order for the Cubs to come out of this series the victors, the pitchers must limit the damage the Brew Crew do via the long ball. That’s been a tough task for any team in the majors that’s faced the Brewers, as they lead the league in home runs hit with 65. Given the conditions we’ve had a Wrigley for the past few days, it will be imperative for the Cubs’ starters to limit the power early on to give the offense a chance to build early leads against their starters.
As you can see from the scheduled starters, two of the Brewers’ pitchers have performed well so far this year. For Jimmy Nelson he did not perform well the last time he visited Chicago. At Wrigley, he only lasted 5.1 innings and gave up seven runs. Three of the seven runs came in the sixth inning, as he had labored throughout the game and was probably left in for too long. He did not receive the loss, as that was a game in which Brett Anderson started and performed as well as he often has this year: poorly. Chase Anderson has faced the Cubs once this year throwing five innings of three run ball in a winning effort. For the Cubs to be successful against the Brewer pitchers, they have to continue approaching at bats as they did against the Reds: by taking many pitches, getting themselves on base via the walk, and driving in runners who are on base. With runners in scoring position, the Cubs were 10-33 against the Reds, which is a .303 batting average. If they’re able to hit at that rate with men in scoring position, a series win will be all but guaranteed.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Friday, May 19 at 1:20 CT on CSN
- Saturday, May 20 at 1:20 CT on CSN
- Sunday, May 21 at 1:20 CT on WGN
What to Watch For
Watch for how the Brewers are hitting Cubs pitching early in the game. If they aren’t making good contact with the ball, then the Cubs should be in a good position to win.
Watch how the Cubs’ hitters approach their at bats against Paolo Espino on Friday. He’s 30 year-old a rookie 30 year-old making his first start ever in the major leagues. He’s got a pretty good 12-6 curveball. Will they be patient with him or try to attack early on in at bats?
Another thing to look for is the kind of contact the Cubs are getting against the Brewers. They were able to get a good amount of hard contact against the Reds, and haven’t done well getting good wood on balls overall this season.