Craig Counsell made us wait until a few hours before gametime, but now we know who will be taking the mound first for the Brewers as they try to win their first NL Central crown since 2011. It’ll be their most consistent starter all year — and someone with a track record of success against the Cubs — Jhoulys Chacin.
The Brewers declined to make the announcement last night, saying the decision would be made sometime overnight. Chacin wasn’t announced until the whole lineups for today’s tiebreaker game was released.
Here's the #Brewers lineup for our final game of the regular season. #ThisIsMyCrew pic.twitter.com/VK3rTDw0YM— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) October 1, 2018
Much has been made about the Brewers’ inability to hit Cubs starter Jose Quintana, but Chacin has been just as good against the Cubs this year. In 4 starts against the Northside Nine this year, Chacin has a 1.59 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 22.2 innings, allowing just 1 home run against the stacked Cubs lineup.
His last start against the Cubs was also a showdown against Quintana. Chacin allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on just 1 hit over 5 innings, but the Brewers ultimately lost that game 3-0. He’ll hope for a bit more support today.
The other possibility to start today was Chase Anderson, who also has been very good against Chicago this year and might have been able to take advantage of today’s expected conditions — cool temperatures with winds blowing in from right field — to put up another solid outing.
Starting Chacin today likely shows some degree of confidence by Counsell in his team’s ability to finally get something going against Quintana and pull out a win. He’s taking a calculated risk by throwing Chacin today instead of a possible elimination game tomorrow, hoping to avoid the Wildcard play-in game if at all possible. If the Brewers lose today, some tough decisions will have to be made in the following 24 hours.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference