The hapless Milwaukee Brewers take their services to Chicago for a meeting with the surging Cubs Friday afternoon. Two teams heading in opposite directions of one another, as the Brewers are a long ways away from the Ryan Braun/Prince Fielder tandem in Milwaukee. Braun is still a Brewer, but he is coming off a season in which he was suspended due to PED use and hasn’t been able to get back on track here yet. If the Brewers are depending on Braun to snap back to being a productive member of the team they are living in the past. The Brewers need to start thinking ahead to the future and accept the fact they may be the worst team in the majors. They looked good in their last outing against the Reds, avoiding a sweet by winning 8-1. However, that is going to be the exception in 2015 for the Brewers.
We have a different situation with their opponents for this weekend. The Cubs have been down in the dumps and a rather ineffective team for the past several seasons. The Cubs with a good push can avoid a 100 year World Series drought. They have been stockpiling prospects for awhile now, so they should be a much better team at this point, and that they are. The offense isn’t going to be the problem for the Cubs. They have a number of great hitters in their lineup that have the potential to be stars. Putting it together on the field will be key. They’ve put themselves in a good position thus far, getting off to a 12-8 start. I don’t see them immediately being the team to beat this season, but I like what the future has in store for the Cubs. Hopefully the future for us holds a winning pick this afternoon.
Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs
Wily Peralta (0-3, 5.04 ERA) vs. Jon Lester (0-2, 6.23 ERA)
The Brewers come in with a putrid record of 5-17 despite winning their last one against the Reds. A lot of work to do in all positions for the Brewers. The pitching staff is among the worst and their offense isn’t striking fear into most pitchers. Ryan Braun in his prime, yes, but not in this capacity today. I think they’ll be better off with him out of town and start taking a look at what they have in the minors. Starting pitcher today, Wily Peralta, isn’t part of the long term solution as well. He has gotten ripped whenever he has had the chance to pitch this season. Peralta enters with a 5.04 ERA and even more concerning is the WHIP of 1.52. His troubles on the road have been well documented, getting hit for an ERA of 7.20 and whopping 2.20 WHIP.
Jon Lester will look to get on track in 2015 with a quality start against Milwaukee. Gone are the days of glory for him with the Boston Red Sox, but he is still making a fair paycheque these days. Now he has bounced around from teams, coming from the A’s and landing with the Cubs this season. His numbers leave a lot to be desired, with an ERA of 6.23 and 1.57 WHIP. But I do think Lester will be much better and improve on that ERA of his. Note that he was good with the Athletics last season, in eleven starts he went for a 2.35 ERA. Further, Lester is going to be working against one of the worst offenses in MLB today. They are also hitting only .196 against lefty pitchers. I suspect Lester puts in his first dominant start of the season against the Brewers today. Look for the Cubs to win, and win in relatively easy fashion.
PICK: CUBS -1.5