It seemed a few weeks ago that the series would decide the winner of the National League Central. The Cubs entered September 7 just 1.5 games behind the Brewers.
The clubs have since gone in opposite directions. Chicago has lost 13 of its last 19 games, while the Brewers have gone 13-7 in that same stretch. The Brewers clinched the division on Tuesday night with a Cubs loss to the Atlanta Braves.
The NL Central may be sewn up, but the series still has playoff implications. For the Brewers, it could determine their opponent in the Wild Card round.
The Cubs have continued to struggle and enter the series out of a postseason spot entirely. They sit half a game behind the Miami Marlins for the final Wild Card spot. Because the Marlins hold the tiebreaker over the Cubs, Chicago is effectively 1.5 games out. The Cincinnati Reds are still in the mix, sitting 1.5 games behind the Cubs.
At this point, the Brewers will likely host either the Marlins or the Cubs for the Wild Card series. It seems Milwaukee is content with letting those cards fall where they may and is instead focused on managing workloads ahead of the postseason. Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta will both skip their starts this weekend, and several lineup regulars are likely to get days off.
Probable Pitching Matchups
Friday, September 29 @ 7:10 p.m.: Colin Rea vs. Kyle Hendricks
Rea gets the start tonight in lieu of Woodruff. He’ll face soft-tossing Kyle Hendricks, who has thrown six innings allowing two or fewer runs in both of his starts against the Brewers this season.
Saturday, September 30 @ 6:10 p.m.: TBD vs. Jordan Wicks
The Brewers have yet to announce a probable starter for Saturday, but they selected Caleb Boushley to the 40-man roster. Eric Lauer has also joined the club from Triple-A Nashville. Wicks was the Cubs’ 2021 first-round draft pick and made his debut in August. This will be his first start against the Brewers.
Sunday, October 1 @ 2:10 p.m. CT: Adrian Houser vs. Justin Steele
The Brewers will tab Houser to start the regular season finale. The Cubs will send Steele to the mound, meaning the Brewers may not see the ace in a potential Wild Card series next week.
At this point, the Brewers’ focus is on the postseason. Still, the Cubs remain mired in a late-season slide, so I’ll predict a 2-1 series win for the Brewers.