After the first two series of the year against the lowly Marlins and Reds, it’s safe to say that the Cubs expected to be off to a better start than 2-3. In the shortened series against Cincinnati, the offense was shut out for the second straight game and only managed two hits. The second game of the two-game series was postponed due to rain, which paired with Wednesday’s scheduled day off to allow the Cubs two days of rest before heading to Milwaukee.
The offense has struggled early in the season to hit with runners in scoring position and is currently 7-for-51 (.137) in such opportunities. Strikeouts have also been a big issue, as the team’s 58 K’s through the first five games set an NL record for the most in a five-game span. Coming off of back-to-back shutouts, the offense needs a jump-start and hopefully the extra day of rest helps with that.
On the pitching side of things, the early signs have been encouraging. With the exception of Yu Darvish, Jon Lester, and Jose Quintana, that is. The revamped bullpen has only allowed only two runs over 26 innings to start the year and has looked sharp. The Cubs now need their starting rotation to bounce back in their four-game series with the Brewers.
The Cardinals took two out of three games in the Brewers home-opening series, in which the Brewers’ starting rotation gave up 13 ER in 15 1/3 innings and furthered the questions about that pitching staff. The Brewers will also be without Christian Yelich for at least the first game of this series due to discomfort in his right oblique. It would be nice for the Cubs to rebound after a slow start to the season and take a key division series on the road.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Thursday, April 5 at 7:10 CT on NBC Sports Chicago
- Friday, April 6 at 7:10 CT on NBC Sports Chicago
- Saturday, April 7th at 3:05 CT on ABC 7
- Sunday, April 8th at 1:10 CT on WGN Sports
Starting Pitchers (2018 Stats)
What to Watch For
- Lester, Darvish, and Quintana all struggled in their opening starts. It will be important that they each bounce back in this key division series.
- Ian Happ has struggled out of the leadoff spot after his opening day lead-off homer, and is hitting .125 with 10 K’s. Look for him to be more patient at the plate and provide a spark atop the Cubs lineup.
- Ben Zobrist is hitting for .364 with a .500 OBP and is looking locked in to start the year. If Happ continues to struggle, look for Zobrist to get more opportunities to bat leadoff.