It all comes down to this, really.
Sure, an NL Central title isn't the only way the Brewers could make the postseason. They don't need to sweep the Cubs this weekend, but it sure would help. On the other side of the coin, if Chicago were to win the next four games, they'd be celebrating a division title on Sunday afternoon at Miller Park.
The Brewers swept the Cubs the last time they played. Can they run that streak to 7 games? It seems unlikely, but those are the kinds of unlikely things that happen during those special years in Brewers history, the ones we talk about for years.
Make us some memories, fellas.
Thursday, 7:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin/MLBN - Jake Arrieta vs. Zach Davies
Arrieta hasn't pitched in a game since Labor Day, when he strained a hamstring in a loss to the Pirates. He wasn't pitching well that day before leaving early, giving up 3 runs on 4 hits (including 2 home runs) in 2.1 innings. Before that, though, he was on fire in the second half of the season. In 10 starts after the All-Star Break, Arrieta has a 1.98 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 3.06, looking like the Cy Young winner of old. He's made two starts against the Brewers this year, striking out 16 and walking just 3 in 13 innings while allowing 4 total runs on 8 hits. The Cubs went on to win both of those starts.
Friday, 6:35 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin/ESPN - John Lackey vs. Brandon Woodruff
Lackey has given up a league-high 34 home runs so far this year, but has pitched well against the Brewers since that night in April when Eric Thames took him deep. In the two starts after that, Lackey limited the Brewers to 4 runs in 13 innings, striking out 16. After beating the Brewers in Milwaukee on July 30th, Milwaukee was able to make 2 runs hold up earlier this month in a 2-0 win that was a part of the sweep in Wrigley. Lackey had a short start his last time out against the Cardinals, only going 4.1 innings, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks.
Saturday, 12:05 p.m. CDT, FOX - Kyle Hendricks vs. Brent Suter
Hendricks is another Cubs pitcher on a second half hot streak and part of the reason why Chicago started playing up to expectations after the All-Star break. He missed nearly two months of action this year, but since coming off of the DL on July 24th, he's put up a 2.42 ERA in 67 innings, with a 57/17 K/BB ratio. Despite that, the Brewers fared well enough against him earlier this month, scoring 3 runs off of him in 6 innings en route to a 3-1 win to complete the sweep. The decisive blow came on a 2-run home run by Travis Shaw that put the Brewers ahead in the 6th inning. Hendricks bounced back from that game to allow just 1 run over 7.2 innings against St. Louis in his last start.
Sunday, 1:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin/TBS - Jose Quintana vs. Chase Anderson
The Cubs' big midseason addition has settled in to be a solid addition to the team's rotation. After 12 starts with the Cubs, he's now holding a 3.95 ERA (3.65 FIP) with the team, striking out 83 in 70.2 innings. Those numbers are inflated by a couple of blow-up starts in August in which he gave up 6 runs, but he's really turned it on during the season's final month. He's held opponents to a 2.41 ERA in 3 September starts, where he's struck out 21 and only walked 3. The Brewers have only faced him once this year, scoring 2 runs in 6 innings on July 28th, which was good enough for a 2-1 win.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference