The Cubs are 6.5 games back of the Cardinals right now. They're the second place team in the division. Stupid Cardinals. I think this next fact is a bit nuttier. The Reds are only half a game back of the Cubs right now. I thought for sure the Reds were going to be in the gutter this year and I'm not convinced they still won't be. But the Brewers can at least frustrate Cubs fans early on by knocking the Cubs back a spot in the standings.
It's certainly possible for the Brewers to do that as they've played much better recently. They're coming off a series split with a tough Dodgers team. Before that they took 2 out of 3 against the Cubs when they had their best pitchers taking the mound. This time around they're going to have the back end of their pitching staff face the Brewers awakening offense at Miller Park. I think this series might be a fun one.
-As a team the Cubs offense has actually been rather average ranking 13th in wOBA (.314) and 16th in wRC+ (96).
- Addison Russell has 2 home runs. Kris Bryant has none.
- While the talk of the season has been Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo continues to be the dominant hitter on that team (.441 wOBA, 180 wRC+).
-Jason Hammel has a higher batting average (.308) than on-base percentage (.286).
Friday May 8, 7:10 pm CST: Jimmy Nelson vs Jason Hammel
Hammel's last start was against the Brewers so this will be two in a row. I tend to believe more often than not that benefits hitters. And the Brewers were actually decent against him last time out. They scored 3 runs in 6 innings against him.
Saturday May 9, 6:10 pm CST: Kyle Lohse vs Travis Wood
Travis Wood is the definition of a junkballer. He throws 3 different fastballs, all in the high 80's, a slider, a curve, and a change-up. Sometimes the Brewers struggle against this type of pitcher but usually that's when they're inducing a lot of ground balls. That is not something Wood does. He typically sports a 30% ground ball rate.
Wood is a lefty so it will be interesting to see how Craig Counsell handles the lineup. When they faced Kershaw Jason Rogers got the start but Wood isn't in the same league so I wouldn't be shocked to see Lind in the lineup.
Sunday May 10, 1:10 pm CST: Matt Garza vs Kyle Hendricks
Kyle Hendricks is kind of the Cubs version of Mike Fiers (and he's been about as ineffective so far). I don't know if Hendricks incorporates deception as much as Fiers does though. They both throw fastball (high 80's), curve, and change. Whereas Fiers relies heavily on his four seam fastball Hendricks uses a sinker. So he is that junkballer type that likes to induce ground balls that the Brewers seem to struggle against.
Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs