Series Preview: Cubs vs Brewers (4/26 - 4/29)

I keep hearing about the rivalry that is brewing (pun INTENDED) between Milwaukee and the Cubs. I'm glad for that. I remember towards the end of the Derek Lee and Aramis Ramirez years, these series were always fun and even got a bit chippy. We'll always have the Cardinals rivalries no matter how good the Cubs or St. Louis. But the Brewers and Cubs only seem to crank up the rivalry talk when both teams are competitive. I dig it.

There are some key differences, however, between this series and the first one in Milwaukee. First, the Brewers have Yelich back. But they lost Thames, probably for an extended amount of time. The Cubs too have a player absent, but theirs is the former MVP Kris Bryant who's still feeling the effects of getting a baseball to the head. This will be his third straight game sitting, but it sounds like he was able to take BP today which is encouraging. On the flip side, the Cubs do have their all-star first basemen back in Anthony Rizzo. He wasn't able to play the first series due to some back issues.

For me personally, I'm looking forward to seeing if Javy can continue his crazy run at the plate. He seems different, doesn't he? Jared and I discussed this on the last Cubs Den Podcast, but I think he's finally arrived. The plate discipline is finally coming around. And he even had an opposite field double the other day! What?! He'll slide into the three hole for the first game as Schwarber gets moved up to bat second. I'm not a fan of switching up the lineup when things are going well, but with the absence of KB, perhaps it makes sense.

 

Watch/Listen
Thursday: 7:05pm CST - NBC Sports Chicago+ (listen on 670am)

Friday: 1:20pm CST - NBC Sports Chicago (listen on 670am)

Saturday: 1:20pm CST - ABC 7 (listen on 670am)

Sunday: 1:20pm CST - NBC Sports Chicago (listen on 670am)

Thursday Lineup:

-Cubs-
1. Albert Almora Jr. (CF)
2. Kyle Schwarber (LF)
3. Javier Baez (2B)
4. Anthony Rizzo (1B)
5. Tommy La Stella (3B)
6. Victor Caratini (C)
7. Addison Russell (SS)
8. Jason Heyward (RF)
9. Kyle Hendricks (P)

-Brewers-
1. Lorenzo Cain (CF)
2. Christian Yelich (LF)
3. Ryan Braun (1B)
4. Travis Shaw (3B)
5. Domingo Santana (RF)
6. Jonathan Villar (2B)
7. Orlando Arcia (SS)
8. Jett Bandy (C)
9. Chase Anderson (P)

Bullpen Usage:

[via Baseball Press and as of 4/26]

screen-shot-2018-04-26-at-3-45-32-pm screen-shot-2018-04-26-at-3-45-43-pm

 

Opposing Pitchers:
[Scouting Reports from Brooks Baseball]

Chase AndersonHis fourseam fastball has essentially average velo and has some added backspin. His change has an obvious armside fade and has a lot of backspin. His curve has a sharp downward bite. His cutter results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' cutters, has good "rise" and has strong cutting action. His sinker has little sinking action compared to a true sinker.

Brent SuterHis fourseam fastball comes in below hitting speed, is straight as an arrow and has some natural sinking action. His change has a lot of backspin. His slider comes in below hitting speed, is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' sliders, has exceptional depth, has short glove-side cut and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sliders. His curve generates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' curves, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves and has slightly below average velo. His sinker (take this with a grain of salt because he's only thrown 9 of them in 2018) is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' sinkers, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers' sinkers, has surprisingly little armside run and has slightly below average velo.

Junior GuerraHis fourseam fastball generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, has essentially average velo, has slightly less natural movement than typical and has some added backspin. His sinker has little sinking action compared to a true sinker, results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers and has slightly above average velo. His slider generates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' sliders, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sliders and has some two-plane movement. His splitter is a real worm killer that generates an extreme number of groundballs compared to other pitchers' splitters, has surprising cut action, is slightly firmer than usual and has movement that suggests a lot of backspin. 

Zach DaviesHis sinker generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' sinkers, has slight armside run and has slightly below average velo. His curve has an exceptional bite, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves and has slightly below average velo. His cutter is a prototypical pitch with few remarkable qualities. His change has below average velo, generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' changeups, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' changeups, has slight armside fade and has some natural sink to it. His fourseam fastball (take this with a grain of salt because he's only thrown 1 of them in 2018) is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, has below average velo and has some natural sinking action. 

Comments

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  • Myles, dude, you gotta post Braun's mug? Or are you just trying to fire us up?

    I've heard many fans say that Lackey had the most punchable face in baseball. Braun tops my list, but not due to any physical features. He's kinda cute, but I just want to pop him. Horrible human being.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Just trying to rile you guys up! Did it work?

  • In reply to Myles Phelps:

    Worked for me.

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    So true. I was getting ready to put my girl to bed and checked my phone, bottom of 9 so I pulled up the game. Braun came up with 2 down and said something about him being a jerk. She asked why and I had to try to explain to my 9 year how he cheated, when lots of players were cheating, but that he was a liar and ruined someone else's life. She said, "no Cubs cheated did they?"

    Oh to be 9 again!

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    Oh to be nine again, with my pure religion of baseball. I would bet your daughter will be fine with your direction. Best wishes for you and her, my friend. But it kind of sucks, doesn't it?

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    Joe broke up the top two by putting Schwarbs in the 2nd slot. We'll see how that works out. He has been very good this year but I think Joe wanted RLRL.
    This will be a challenge with LST and Caratini in there but they are good players in their own right.
    This is becoming a very good rivalry without the vitriol that the
    Cubs-Cards is.
    Let's beat them bad.
    Go Cubs!!

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Tonight's lineup is obviously different without KB and Willson. Most of us love the Almora Jr/Javy 1-2 punch, and Bryant says he loves hitting third, but that sets 3 RH hitters at the top. We know Joe likes the alternating balance. I think we see this top as long as it works but will see different sets based on matchups, as usual.

    I want to see it keep working.

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    I love that Javy is using the whole field now. He’s not trying to pull everything, but as well as he’s doing Riz is not. Maybe he’s still hurting but he just looks off.

  • Albert has been slowing down and hitting a lot of weak grounders. Hope he gets it back soon.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I wish the best for AA too, but would like to use your comment to shield Javy as well. Neither can keep up this ridiculous pace, They will slow down, and I'm fully anticipating the comments telling us they are regressing. Of course they are going to, Javy especially can't keep up this pace. But they are good, I'm loving it, and can't wait to see what happens next.

    I'm listening on the radio. That sounded like a sick catch by Almora.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    It looked like an excellent catch but Statcast gave it 86% probability of being caught.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Not as spectacular as his Colorado antics but still a good catch.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Obviously he is unlikely to continue this pace indefinitely. But this is one of his longest stretches of being locked in. It seems like teams are throwing him fewer and fewer sliders 12" off the plate. I take that as an indicator they don't think he'll chase those anymore like he used to.

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    Keep him in!!
    He reminds me of Paul Blair, a CF for the Orioles in the 60’s and 60’s. He only averaged .250 but earned 8 GGs and with his defense they could afford to play him even with his BA. The Cubs can do the same.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Great comparison. Loved Paul Blair.

  • "This old engine makes it on time.
    Leaves Central Station 'bout a quarter to nine."

  • Not quite El Mago, but that DP works. Now Braun is on. Let's finish this, this would be a big early win, and set a tone for the series.

    Go Cubs!

  • Cubs Win Holmes!

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    1-0. My favorite baseball score.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    1 more than the bad guys is all it takes.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Yes sir.The only numbers that truly matter in baseball are the ones under the "R" column at the end of the game. A 1-0 score conjures images of good pitching and defense and brains spilling all over the field. My kind of baseball.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I worry more about the numbers under the W than under the R. But that's just me.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    (Bet Bam Bam’s WAR did not go up a full 1 did it?)

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    I am actually partial to the 16-0 from Jake's no-hitter of the Reds in 2017.

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    Time for the Schwarbenator !

    How good has Carl Edwards been?

    He's been dominating, and striking out nearly 2 per inning !!!

  • Two hours and 23 minutes!

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    In reply to Cliff1969:

    Not quite Maddox time but close.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Yes. Almora's catch was impressive. It might have even conjured images of the Phillies CF of the 1970's, Garry Maddox. That is who you were referring to. Right?

    J/K.

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    In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I mentioned Paul Blair before, but you're right about Garry Maddox too.

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    In reply to Cliff1969:

    This game had to be quick. There was 1 BB, 13 total hits (14 baserunners in 18 half-innings). Only 9 combined Ks. No mid-inning pitching changes. VERY few "mound visits" for either team. Pitchers that don't waste any motions between pitches. Tight defense on both sides.

    This game was a pleasure to watch.

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