Miller Park is the home of an important series this weekend, as the Chicago Cubs and Brewers converge in Milwaukee. The Cubs and Brewers had the day off yesterday following a 2-1 series loss for the Brewers in Cincinnati, while did the same in San Francisco against the Giants. The Cubs were able to avoid a sweep with a 4-1 win behind Jon Lester in the series finale.
That was only their 19th win on the road this season, as they’ve struggled mightily at 19-29. Wrigley Field has been an ATM for them, but the road has presented a more difficult challenge. If they do reach the postseason, the Cubs are not looking at being one of the top seeds. In other words, if they want to do some damage, the Cubs might want to learn how to win on the road soon.
One team who is trying to steal a postseason spot from the Cubs is their opponent this weekend. The Cubs and Brewers are vying for the NL Central crown, while the Cardinals are right up there as well. In fact, thanks to a sweep of the Pirates, the Cards are tied with the Cubs for 1st in the division. They’ve been the best team in the division since the break, and while the Brewers and Cubs have treaded water, St. Louis took advantage and played catch up.
San Francisco was just one stop on a nine-game road trip for the Cubs. These next two are critically important. First, the Brewers and then they travel to St. Louis for a three-game set against the Cardinals. Following that, they return home to welcome the Brewers, so a lot could change between now and then. Kyle Hendricks is expected to be called upon for the Cubs, while Gio Gonzalez is expected to step up at home. Head below for our free Cubs vs. Brewers pick.
Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers Pick:
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The Cubs needed a stellar performance by Jon Lester to get the money off their backs on the road. Offensively, they scored 4 runs for the third straight game out in San Francisco. The Giants topped them with 5 runs in the previous two games, though. They have a bit of a tricky schedule here, flying from the west coast out to Milwaukee to play a divisional rival. The Brewers were fortunate to get one win against the Reds, as they were in danger of getting swept going into this series.
They have to be more focused against the Cubs or this is going to be a losing weekend. The Brewers will send out Gio Gonzalez, who is one of a few pitchers in the majors who has had a lot of success against the Cubs. They have a solid lineup, but Gonzalez has been able to cool them off. The Cubs are hitting .155 with just 2 long balls in 103 at-bats. That’s a healthy sample size of success for Gonzalez against the Cubs.
They’ve been worse against lefties, with a .235 batting average as opposed to a .255 against right-handed pitching. Kyle Hendricks has been a sharpshooter at home, with a 1.89 ERA and 0.89 WHIP at Wrigley. However, like a lot of his teammates, Hendricks has struggled with control on the road. Hendricks owns an ERA of 5.44 and 1.49 WHIP with only a record of 3-6 away from Wrigley. If the Cubs would play at home all season, they’d be unbeatable, but the road has given them some fits.
Milwaukee have been serviceable against Hendricks with a .247 batting average and .293 OBP in 162 at-bats. Considering how the Cubs have struggled with a .155 average, that .247 looks a lot better. The Brewers are home this weekend where they’ve felt comfortable with a record of 31-23. Expect Milwaukee to catch the Cubs napping on the road again, as they pick up a big win Friday night at Miller Park.