So, we’re doing this again.
The previous meeting between these two ended with pitcher Ryan Tepera and manager David Ross getting suspended and the Brewers taking yet another series from the middling Cubs. That was Chicago’s third straight series loss, and they’d get a fourth straight against Atlanta before sweeping the New York Mets this week at Wrigley Field.
That has the Cubs back at .500 despite one of baseball’s worst offenses, although if you want to be fair, you’d have to wonder how much of the Cubs’ poor offensive showing so far this season has been due to see Brewers pitching so often. Still, there’s little doubt these two teams are sick of seeing eachother, and it’s probably a good thing for a lot of reasons that they won’t see eachother until late June after this weekend.
Brewer Killer Joc Pederson will miss this meeting after being placed on the injured list Thursday with wrist tendinitis, and former first-round pick and Madison Mallard Nico Hoerner will take his place on the roster.
Chicago is hoping Hoerner can bring some sort of consistency, because the other players on the roster certainly haven’t done that. Our friend Willson Contreras is currently one of the team’s leading hitters despite hitting just .269 (although he does have a .382 OBP thanks to being hit by 5 pitches in 16 games, although that will happen when you lean into as many as he does). Kris Bryant (.283/.380/.617 with 5 home runs and 5 doubles) is really the only Cub hitting well to this point, with Anthony Rizzo, Jason Heyward and Javier Baez all hitting .230 or below with OPSes below .800.
Basically, not a lot has changed since the last time we saw the Cubs, other than Baez deciding to hit left-handed against a position player in a blowout win against the Mets.
The Probable Pitchers
Brett Anderson will take the ball in the first game for the Brewers, and really, his only rough outing of the year came against these Cubs. It was also his first start of the year, when he gave up three home runs in the fourth inning alone. He’ll go up against Kyle Hendricks, who will probably continue to frustrate the Brewers despite getting off to a rough start against teams not from Milwaukee this year. Overall, he’s given up 10 runs in 13 innings over 3 starts this year, thanks in large part to 5 home runs allowed — as well as 7 walks.
Freddy Peralta will be making his fourth start of the year on Saturday — and his third of the year against the Cubs. He’s dominated them to this point, striking out 18 over 11 innings and allowing just 1 run on 3 hits. He will once again face off against Adbert Alzolay, whose only two other appearances this year have come as starts against the Brewers. He’s allowed a total of 7 runs in 10.1 innings against the Crew, taking losses in both games.
Sunday has the potential to be another pitchers’ duel for Brandon Woodruff, as he’ll go head-to-head against Jake Arrieta. Like Peralta, Woodruff will be making his third start of the year against Chicago — and his first since Tepera and Contreras admitted to throwing at him in his last outing, causing Woodruff to plainly tell Tepera “that’s funned up” only to go back out on the mound and throw a shutdown inning. Arrieta’s the old-school type that probably wouldn’t have a problem at throwing at anyone, either, so if there’s an idiotic macho-toxic Racing Sausage-measuring contest taking place this weekend courtesy of our friends to the south, this day would probably be it.