The Brewers were the latest team to take advantage of Pedro Strop in the later stages of a matchup. With the Brewers down in the 8th inning, they added 2 runs to go ahead by a score of 3-2. Steve Cishek yielded a run in the 7th, so the Brewers erased a 2-0 lead late after getting stifled by Kyle Hendricks for 5 innings. In fact, Hendricks gave up just 2 hits, but it went to waste because of a sloppy bullpen.
Strop has been blowing games left and right, essentially putting Joe Maddon in a tough position now. Maddon has stuck with Strop through this tough stretch, but as he gets criticized more and more for trotting Strop out there to blow games, more pressure is going to be applied after last night. His ERA is north of 5.00, and in high leverage situations, it’s hard to send out Strop in important spots.
He just doesn’t have it right now and it might be best for the Cubs to come up with a fake injury to get him in the minors. There is still time for him to fine tune his mechanics to get back to form and sending him down could help. Maddon can be a stubborn manager, so he may ride with Strop until the wheels fall off, though. A trade at the deadline to acquire bullpen help looks even more important now.
With the loss, the Cubs are just 1-4 in their previous five games. A big part of the blame will lay with Strop for some of those losses. It’s a team game, though, and the offense certainly must kick it up a notch. The Cubs win that game last night if their offense doesn’t play so poorly.
Jon Lester will get the call to try and turn the ship in the right direction Saturday. He was scratched from his most recent scheduled start with bronchitis. Chase Anderson is expected to counter Lester for the Brewers. Get our free Cubs vs. Brewers pick below.
Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers Pick:
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The game that Lester got scratched in has been the only win for the Cubs in their last five attempts. Tyler Chatwood ended up getting the call and he was quite effective against the Giants. The Cubs cruised to a 4-1 win, avoiding a sweep in San Francisco. Lester will finally dig in on Saturday against the Brewers. With the win last night, the Brew Crew are two games behind the Cardinals, yes the Cardinals, for 1st in the NL Central. The Cardinals were able to jump ahead of the Cubs thanks to their loss last night. Thank you cards will be sent to Pedro Strop if they beat out the Cubs by a game. Lester must be better in this one than he’s been in the past on the road.
He carries a below average ERA of 5.09 and 1.41 WHIP on the road in 2019. His most recent outing wasn’t too pleasant, as he allowed 12 hits and 4 earned runs to the Padres in 6 innings. It could have clearly gotten much worse than only 4 runs allowed. However, Lester was able to fight out of some jams. He’s had a less than desirable history against the Brewers in his career, with a .305 batting average and .355 OBA in 128 at-bats.
It never feels good being a starting pitcher and having to operate in front of a shaky bullpen. Strop doesn’t evoke much confident in anyone other than Joe Maddon it seems. That said, the Cubs still rank 6th in the majors with a team ERA of 4.04 from their bullpen. Cubs’ fans don’t really want to hear about it right now considering how bad their pen has been playing of late.
Chase Anderson has had success in the past against Cubs’ hitters. They are hitting just .212 against Anderson in 146 at-bats. Following the loss last night, the Cubs sank to 19-30 on the road this season. They are just unable to win on the road and have to be feeling thankful of the homefield advantage they have at Wrigley. Conversely, the Brewers are now 32-23 at home. The Cubs might be tempting to select on Saturday behind Lester, but he and the Cubs on the road do not have it in 2019.