The Chicago Cubs look to get closer to the St. Louis Cardinals with a win and some help from the Pirates in Pittsburgh. The Pirates did their part last night with a 9-4 win over the NL Central leading Cardinals. However, the Cubs failed to draw closer due to a loss to the Brewers. They took a 1-0 lead in the 3rd and then things turned to mush in a hurry.
The Brewers responded with 4 runs in the bottom half of the inning and cruised to a 7-1 win Friday night at Miller Park. With the loss, the Diamondbacks were able to inch closer in the wildcard hunt. The Cubs hold a 2.5-game advantage on the Diamondbacks going into today. Just the fact that we’re talking about the Diamondbacks in a postseason race is a win for them.
As far as the Brewers are concerned, they still have an outside shot at going to the postseason. Their season isn’t dead yet, so there is something to play for this month, at least at the moment. The Brewers are tied with the Mets and Phillies who are all four games back of the final wildcard. The biggest disappointing season that group has to go to the Phillies. They were the only team that spent $330-million dollars for one player in the offseason.
The Cubs missing out on the postseason would be a disappointing season. They have too much talent on board to not at least go to the Wild Card Game. It will be a long offseason for the Cubs if they throw this away, but they control their own destiny with a 2.5-game lead.
Yu Darvish pitching badly down the stretch could help contribute to that. Darvish has given the Cubs a boost recently and seeing him struggle down the stretch would be disastrous. Darvish is expected to get the start Saturday against Gio Gonzalez. Head below for our free Cubs vs. Brewers pick.
Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers Pick:
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Yu Darvish has shown that he can still be an elite pitcher recently. Since July 12th, Darvish has had some efforts where he was painting a canvas on the hill for the Cubs. He can be a polarizing pitcher who oftentimes one of the most overrated hurlers in baseball, but Darvish has lived up to expectations most of the time in the last two months. Since then, Darvish has had three outings where he blanked the opposition with no runs allowed.
His most impressive of the bunch was on August 15th against the Phillies, where Darvish allowed 4 hits and no runs across 7 innings. In his latest performance, Darvish was strong with 5 hits and 1-run allowed against the Mets. Also note that in six of his last nine outings, he’s allowed 2 or fewer runs on the board. Darvish has been excellent in spurts recently. We’ll see if he can get one of those starts against the Brewers in Milwaukee.
The road has been nice to Darvish and he has been great against this roster in the past. Darvish has posted an ERA of 3.50 and 1.04 WHIP in 82.1 innings on the road. Further, the Brewers are hitting just .202 in 104 at-bats against Darvish. Gio Gonzalez has been good against the Cubs as well, but they’ve also scored 17 runs against him in 198 at-bats.
Gio has been struggling of late, with a 5.54 ERA and 1.85 WHIP in his previous three outings. Miller Park has been a haunted house for him, as he’s gotten hammered for a 5.64 ERA as opposed to a 2.92 ERA on the road. The long balls have hurt him, yielding 6 of them in 30.1 innings of work. After a discouraging performance Friday night, expect the Cubs to return to Miller Park with a better effort. Consider the Cubs here.