If the Brewers are going to compete for a playoff spot again this year, they need to be able to beat up on the bad teams on their schedule. Last year, they took advantage of a Cincinnati Reds-heavy first month to jump out to an early division lead. Over the past two weeks, they’ve done something similar, going 8-1 against the Reds, Marlins and Royals, with all 8 wins coming in a row.
Now they head into their second series of the year against the Cubs riding one of baseball’s biggest hot streaks, while Chicago middles around .500 in April for a second straight year. The Cubs might have more talent, but the Brewers are playing better right now and may be catching the right part of the Chicago rotation this weekend.
Losing this series wouldn’t be the end of the world, but it would be a lost opportunity when it comes to putting some early distance between the Brewers and the favorites to win the division. Walking away with a split or winning the series might show that this year’s team is just as capable of hanging with the “real” contenders when they aren’t busy beating up on the teams that are tanking.
Thursday - 7:05 p.m. CDT
Chase Anderson vs. Kyle Hendricks
Friday - 1:20 p.m. CDT
Brent Suter vs. Yu Darvish
Saturday - 1:20 p.m. CDT
Junior Guerra vs. Jose Quintana
Sunday - 1:20 p.m. CDT
Zach Davies vs. Tyler Chatwood
As we’ve already seen once this year, the Cubs have one of the better rotations in the National League, if not all of baseball. The Brewers do catch a bit of a break this weekend in that they don’t see Jon Lester, who’s put up a 3.10 ERA in 4 starts so far this year, including 6 scoreless innings against the Brewers on April 5th.
Suter against Darvish and Guerra against Quintana look like the clear mismatches, but the Brewers do have Road Davies going against the Cubs’ #5 starter, and Chase Anderson going against Hendricks, who the Brewers tagged for 4 runs on 9 hits in 5 innings on April 6th.
Quintana has dominated the Brewers since being acquired in a crosstown trade by the Cubs last year, but Darvish is off to a very rough start to his career on the North Side. He’s given up at least 4 runs in 3 of his first 4 starts, given up 5 twice, and has only made it out of the 5th inning once -- his appearance against the Brewers on April 7th where he only allowed 1 run over 6 innings. The Brewers will hope to have better luck against him this time around.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference