The Cubs returned home after a 3-6 road swing and, like clockwork, swept the division-rival Brewers in three games. The pitching was tremendous and the dormant offense roared back to life in the Friendly Confines. That sweep put Chicago four games clear of third-place Milwaukee and 1.5 ahead of the second-place Cardinals.
Now they’ll have to face the team that helped put them in first, the Oakland A’s, who head to Wrigley for a three-game set starting Monday. The A’s have been very good in 2019 currently sitting at 64-48, just a half-game behind Tampa for the second wild card spot.
The surging Athletics are paced on offense by corner infielders Matt Chapman (third base) and Matt Olson (first base). The new Bash Brothers have combined for 46 homers while also playing Gold Glove defense, so it might be a good idea to avoid either pitching or hitting to them.
Oakland’s real strong suit, however, is pitching. The starting staff thrives in the spacious Colosseum, giving up nearly a full run less there than they do on the road. The bullpen has been less consistent, though Aussie Liam Hendriks has taken over closing duties and is very effective.
The Cubs will not have an easy task this series, but they are a much better team at home and seem to be gathering momentum as their new additions assimilate. The key will be to put up early offense and pressure an Oakland lineup that is a bit undermanned.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Monday, August 5 at 7:05pm CT on WGN and ESPN (out-of-market)
- Tuesday, August 6 at 7:05pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago+ and MLB Network (out-of-market)
- Wednesday, August 7 at 1:20pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago
What to Watch For
- Javy Báez had six hits in the series against the Brewers after a bit of a cold road trip.
- Kris Bryant missed Sunday’s game with the sore right knee he has nursed since the Giants series, but Joe Maddon told reporters he could have played if needed.
- Several Cubs, including Yu Darvish and Kyle Schwarber, have battled a flu bug recently.
- Jason Heyward hit two leadoff homers against the Brewers and has provided strong leadership on and off the field.