The Chicago Cubs jumped on the Milwaukee Brewers with a 6-1 lead and didn’t let go. With the arrival of Nick Castellanos, the Cubs have a lot more flexibility with what they can do with their lineup. That includes putting Jason Heyward in the leadoff spot, which has been a good look for the Cubs. The addition of Castellanos certainly provides the Cubs with a lot more pop offensively as well.
He is one of the more underrated players in the major leagues and didn’t get much attention playing in Detroit. However, Castellanos was the Tigers best player for the past couple of years. He won’t have pressure on him here to be the top guy, though. Javier Baez was the big winner yesterday, as he went deep and finished the afternoon with 3 RBI’s.
The Cubs are a 58-51 club going into Saturday. St. Louis had the day off on Friday, so they were able to get within a game in the NL Central. The difference right now is the 2-1 series win for the Cardinals over the Cubs this past week. This is likely going to be close until the final week of the regular season. The NL Central has been bunched up from the get-go and not much has changed since that point.
Milwaukee are the other team in the equation in the NL Central. With the loss yesterday, they dropped to 2.5 games back. The Cubs can inflict some damage on the Brewers if they can play like they did on Friday for another couple of days. Cole Hamels will spearhead the Cubs effort for another win Saturday.
He hasn’t made an appearance since June 28th, so this will be his first start in more than a month. A healthy Hamels is going to be needed for a long postseason push for the Cubs. His presence in the rotation is important. The Brewers will counter for fellow veteran, Gio Gonzalez. Head below for our free Brewers vs. Cubs pick.
Milwaukee Brewers vs. Chicago Cubs Pick:
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Cole Hamels had time off with an oblique injury, but has been cleared to return Saturday. The hardest part for Hamels having to sit out is how well he was pitching at the time. In his last six starts, he didn’t allow more than 3 runs in any start, and 1 or less in five of six.
Hamels was rocking on the bump before having to exit after just 1 inning against the Reds in Cincinnati. He enters with an ERA of 2.98 and 1.20 WHIP. The Cubs get a substantial boost if Hamels comes back and is pitching the same. He’s been especially good at home, with a 2.58 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. Expect him to return to the bump and pitch like he never missed a beat. Note that the Brewers are hitting .256 in 160 at-bats against Hamels.
Gio Gonzalez hasn’t done anything wrong this season, either. Gio enters this contest with an ERA of 3.48 in 41.1 innings on the mound. The only small negative in his game this season has been on the road, where he holds an ERA of 3.65 and 1.42 WHIP. Nothing wrong with a 3.65 ERA, but he is putting a little too many runners on base.
In any case, Gonzalez has developed into one of the best options that Milwaukee have in their rotation. He and Zach Davies have been the most consistent hurlers in the Brewer rotation. Gio has a tough matchup here against Hamels on the road, though.
The Cubs can be a streaky team, and when they are looking good, you usually should jump on and enjoy the wave. Expect a good game Saturday afternoon at Wrigley, but the Cubs should be able to ultimately edge the Brewers out and win their second in a row over Milwaukee.