That last time these two teams met, the Cubs took 2 out of 3 to tie the season series at 3 apiece. It was incredibly frustrating and accentuated by two more straight losses to the Braves to form what has been the Brewers longest losing streak (4) this year. However I don't envision things playing out that way again. For one thing, the Brewers lineup should look way better this time around. They won't be using Jeff Bianchi in the starting lineup twice (each a loss) for example. Carlos Gomez will be manning center instead of Elian Herrera/Logan Schafer. Besides, we're talking about a Cubs team that scores the 6th fewest runs in baseball and has a -11 run differential. They're just not a very good team yet.
Friday May 30th 7:10 pm CT: Marco Estrada vs Travis Wood
It's getting hard to come up with new things to say about Travis Wood. He's a lefty junkballer that doesn't do anything particularly well but just good enough to stick in the back of a rotation somewhere. He's boring, but that's okay. The Brewers rocked him for 5 runs in their first meeting and lost in the second scoring only 2 runs in seven innings. Of course in that second game they Brewers were rolling with a lineup that included both Bianchi and Schafer. I think with a stacked lineup he's going to get rocked again.
Of note for the Brewers: Estrada hasn't been sharp lately. He's given up 4 or more runs in 3 of his last 4 starts including a 4 run outing (2 HR) against the Cubs. I still love Marco Estrada, but he's got to find his change-up soon.
Saturday May 31st 3:10 pm CT: Wily Peralta vs Jason Hammel
What can I say? Jason Hammel is having a really great season. He's posting career bests in K%, BB%, HR/9, BAA, and WHIP. He's throwing his four seam fastball way less than ever and has increased his two seam and slider usage. He's also been using his curveball and change-up less. Maybe that's enough? He threw 7 shutout innings against the Brewers in their only confrontation this year. He threw almost entirely two seam fastballs and sliders so I wonder if he'll stick with that or not? I find it hard to imagine another shutout so it can't be worse than last time.
Of note for the Brewers: Peralta really impressed me last outing. He struggled with his command and got behind a lot of hitters, but he was able to come back when it mattered and only allowed 1 run in 6 innings. This start should be an easier one for him so I'm really looking forward to it.
Sunday June 1st 1:10 pm CT: Kyle Lohse vs Jeff Samardziija
Poor Charlie Brown, I mean Jeff Samardzija finally got his win. I don't generally give a rat's ass about pitcher wins and losses but his winless streak was getting pretty comical. I was saddened. Thanks to the Cubes defensive miscues the Brewers were able to tag Samardzija for 4 runs (2 earned) in their only meeting this year. Again, that was with a banged up squad featuring Herrera, Bianchi, and without Braun. I feel better about their run scoring potential this time around. And if the Cubes decide to show up again, all the better.
I'm going to stick with 2 out of 3 here. Just for my own personal edification I'm hoping they win the first two games so I can talk about how they finished the horror movie that was the month of May with a .500 (for the month) and how they're 12 games above .500 on the season. If the Cardinals want to lose their games on Friday and Saturday that would be cool too because then I can also talk about the Brewers being 5 games up on them.