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Series Preview: Milwaukee Brewers @ Chicago Cubs

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This Cubs team is a much different one than the one that came to Miller Park in April

MLB: Miami Marlins at Chicago Cubs Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

The first series between the Brewers and the Chicago Cubs this year was an absurd set of three games that looked more like a beer league softball series than one that employed professional pitchers.

The Brewers took 2 of those 3 games in Miller Park in early April, with the two teams combining for 51 runs in 3 games, an average of 17 combined runs per game. Jason Heyward hit three home runs, both teams had shoulda-been blowout wins that turned out to be closer than comfortable, and we all figured out the ball was probably juiced this year.

That series dropped the Cubs to 2-7 to start the year. They’ve gone 20-6 since, including winning 10 of their last 11 games. There might not be a hotter team in baseball right now.

Probable Pitchers

Friday, May 10th - 1:20 p.m. CDT
Gio Gonzalez vs. Jose Quintana

Quintana had dominated the Brewers in just about every start since moving to the north side of Chicago until the first series between these teams this year, when he gave up 8 earned runs in 3 innings in what ended up being the stupidly wild 13-10 slugfest. Quintana also started Game 163, which, in case you didn’t know, the Brewers won to win the NL Central.

Saturday, May 11th - 1:20 p.m. CDT
Zach Davies vs. Cole Hamels

Hamels held the Brewers to 2 runs in 6 innings in his first start against them this year, and one of those runs came on a leadoff home run by Lorenzo Cain. He’s put up a 3.38 ERA in 7 starts so far this year, carrying a 44/14 K/BB ratio in 42.2 innings.

Sunday, May 12th - 6:05 p.m. CDT
Jhoulys Chacin vs. Jon Lester

The Brewers are on Sunday Night Baseball for the first time since 2013 for this year’s Mother’s Day game. Lester has been extremely tough to start the year, with a 1.41 ERA/2.94 FIP across 32 innings in his first 6 starts. He’s simply not allowing many baserunners, with a 1.031 WHIP thanks to just 7 walks and 26 hits in 32 innings.

Player to Watch

I can’t believe we’re going to do this, but...Jason Heyward?

It turns out his big series in early April wasn’t just a product of Brewers pitching. After hitting 3 home runs in that series, he’s hit 3 more -- he already has 6 home runs in 33 games after hitting just 8 all of last year and 11 the year before that. He’s in the midst of his best season since leaving Atlanta, and at this current pace, possibly his best season ever.

Heyward is hitting .284/.394/.486 with an OPS+ of 131 heading into today, and recently has started hitting leadoff a few times, instead of being buried in the bottom half of the lineup. He’ll be back to hitting 7th in the first game of the series against the left Gonzalez, but don’t be surprised to see him play a significant role again this weekend.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference