Cubs vs Brewers: Series Preview (9/10-9/12)

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The Cubs weekend in Washington DC did not turn out the way they were hoping. Incessant rain postponed two games and led to a wet doubleheader the Nats swept. To make matters worse, second-place Milwaukee swept San Francisco to move just two games back in the race.

It's with that backdrop the Brewers head to Chicago for a crucial three-game series. They won two of three games in a hard-fought series at Miller Park last week. This Milwaukee team is a more formidable unit than it was in 2017. Their taxed bullpen has been holding up of late but it hasn't been perfect.

The Cubs rough stretch of 23 straight days without a scheduled off day has now been extended by a planned makeup game on Thursday. They have gone 12-7 during that stretch despite recent struggles. This series is huge, getting swept knocks the Northsiders out of first. The playoffs basically start now, hopefully Chicago is up to the task.

Watch/Listen

Monday: 7:05 pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago/670AM

Tuesday: 7:05 pm CT on MLB Network/WGN/670AM

Wednesday: 7:05 pm CT on ESPN/ABC-7/670AM

Lineups

Brewers

1. Lorenzo Cain (R) CF
3. Jesus Aguilar (R) 1B
4. Ryan Braun (R) LF
5. Jonathan Schoop (R) 2B
6. Mike Moustakas (L) 3B
7. Erik Kratz (R) C
8. Orlando Arcia (R) SS
9. Wade Miley (L) P

Cubs

1. Daniel Murphy (L) 2B
2. Kris Bryant (R) LF
3. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
4. Javier Baez (R) 3B
5. Ben Zobrist (S) RF
8. Jon Lester (L) P
9. Addison Russell (R) SS
Bullpen Usage
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Lineups and Bullpen Usage via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitchers

Scouting Reports from Brooks Baseball.

Wade MileyWade Miley has thrown 20,392 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2011 and 2018, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason and Spring Training. In 2018, he has relied primarily on his Cutter (88mph), also mixing in a Change using a Circle Change grip (83mph), Curve (76mph), Fourseam Fastball (92mph) and Sinker (91mph). He also rarely throws a Slider (81mph).

His cutter has well above average velo, results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' cutters and has strong cutting action. His change is a real worm killer that generates an extreme number of groundballs compared to other pitchers' changeups. His curve is a real worm killer that generates an extreme number of groundballs compared to other pitchers' curves and has a sharp downward bite. His fourseam fastball generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, has much less armside movement than typical and has essentially average velo. His sinker generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' sinkers, has surprisingly little armside run, results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers and has little sinking action compared to a true sinker. His slider has exceptional depth.

Sean's Note: Miley was good as advertised against the Cubs last week allowing just one run in six innings in a win. Left handed hitters hit for a higher average but less power against him.

Jhoulys ChacinJhoulys Chacin has thrown 19,558 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2009 and 2018, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, The World Baseball Classic and Spring Training. In 2018, he has relied primarily on his Slider (80mph) and Sinker (91mph), also mixing in a Fourseam Fastball (91mph). He also rarely throws a Splitter (87mph), Change (83mph), Curve (76mph) and Cutter (87mph).

His slider comes in below hitting speed and sweeps across the zone. His sinker has slight armside run, has slightly below average velo and has some natural sinking action. His fourseam fastball has some natural sinking action and has slightly below average velo. His splitter is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' splitters, is slightly firmer than usual and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' splitters. His change has slight cut action and results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' changeups. His curve is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' curves, has little depth, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves, has slight glove-side movement and has slightly below average velo. His cutter (take this with a grain of salt because he's only thrown 4 of them in 2018) is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' cutters, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers' cutters, has slightly below average velo and has strong cutting action.

Sean's Note: The Cubs finally scored on Chacin last week, touching him up for three runs in 4.2 innings of work. He doesn't rely heavily on his fastball so looking off speed is the right approach against him. He gives up a fair amount of contact and a pretty large percentage (37%) is hard contact.

Chase AndersonChase Anderson has thrown 11,888 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2013 and 2018, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season and Spring Training. In 2018, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (93mph), also mixing in a Change using a Circle Change grip (83mph), Curve (77mph), Sinker (92mph) and Cutter (89mph).

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

Sean's Note: Anderson has struggled more in 2018 than his excellent 2017 campaign. He is an extreme fly ball pitcher and it leads to a lot of home runs, he has given up 29 of them in 150 innings. Right handers actually hit him for a higher average than lefties. Anderson shut down the Cubs in April allowing just one run in seven innings.

Comments

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  • Looking at the hurricane situation concerning Thursday....you have 2 games that have direct implications on playoff races, Oakland in Baltimore and the Cubs in DC. This is a time where MLB should just get ahead of the situation and re-schedule them to Oct 1.....to be played if necessary.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Makes too much sense. Nats rained out today n Philly and that’s supposed to be the best of the next two. Nats will play either 3games in two days or none depending on the weather conditions. Maybe they could play the Thursday make up on the south side. Otherwise the Nats May have to make up at least 4 games after the year is over.

  • Wade Miley again?!? oh my goodness

  • Putting all the excuses aside. Now is the time to see just how good our Team is along with our Manager.

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    Could they start any better?

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    MLB should schedule that Thurs game somewhere far away from the East coast. Don’t wait until the last minute.
    As much as I like our club and as much as I dislike RB I think Milw has a better outfield than we do.

  • Bryant is playing a lot of outfield since his return from the DL. I am wondering if they are trying to get a look to see how he handles the outfield and maybe move him there permanently next year.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Or is it just because Heyward is on the DL.

  • That’s ball four to Almora. He’s gotta take that pitch. Bases should have been loaded

  • Lester dodging bullets, that's the 3rd ball hit tonight that almost left the yard

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    A great throw by KB. I didn’t think he had that arm strength and it didn’t look like he got to step into it.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    That was like 80% all upper body. Shows what kind of cannon he has. He prob was a pitcher in high school w that arm

  • Contreras hasn't hit a homer since August 1st. I think that is also the last time he hit a ball hard.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    How often does anyone hit a ball lately.

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    Anyone know what Almora was swinging at in the 1st inning? Miley was clearly laboring and just trying to hit that outside corner but was missing badly. Instead he reaches out ahead in the count on a ball a foot outside w 2 runners on.

    If Miley "settles" in after we let him off the hook, thats going to be a key AB

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Exactly what I was saying earlier. Up 3-1 in the count he has to let that go. Miley was struggling & bases should have been loaded

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    In reply to Cubpack:

    Sorry I missed your comment on it.

    Just a ridiculous AB. If you cannot swing at strikes, you shouldn't be hitting in a run producing spot.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    No sorry needed. And I agree completely with what you said

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    Good Idea, but bad bunt by Javy, but he still almost beat it out !!

    Guy is amazing

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    2 At Bats and Almora has had exactly 1 strike thrown at him, but yet has managed to make 3 outs.

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    leadoff "double"

    Have to make a habit of cashing these.

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    Please don't bring Carl Edwards into a game w runners on...... please Joe

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    CJ, your table is ready with Tyler Chatwood.

  • Joe must have Stockholm syndrome, why would you bring Edwards in this spot?

  • Carl the clown strikes again and the circus leader Maddon keeps on sending him out there.

  • LOL. Maddon bringing in Edwards in a situation like this. Wild pitch 4 pitch walk.

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    Edwards can’t handle the pressure

  • Yep. Deer in headlights. Not ready for prime time.

    We had a few posts in a thread a few days ago about him. I just don’t see how he is a playoff caliber pitcher with his continued slide in the 2nd half. He is horrid right now.

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    Poor Lester is on the hook for an L.

    Yea he pitched like crap in the 1st, but he battled n w the brewers help he got out of it. He also was a lil fortunate on the Moose n Kratz fly balls that could easily of been homers, but he still doesn't deserve to be on the hook for a L cuz 1. Edwards can't throw strikes w people on base and 2. The Cubs still don't know how to attack Wade Miley

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    Wow, you guys are watching too? I thought I was alone here.......

    How do we all know whats going to happen when CJ comes in, but the "G.O.A.T" manager has no idea ??

  • Vote for Buck Showalter 2019!

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    In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    The guy Theo n Co were rumored to be in on just got an extension; AJ Hinch. I am not overly impressed by him either, but he fits their philosophy to a tee.

  • If JOE Blows the division he needs to go along with alot of this non hitting roster.

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    In reply to TheSarge#36:

    Joe Blows Edwards, or is it the other way around? It could be both ways. Either way, they should both be ejected for their dumbass moves and pitches. But who's receiving? Likely both.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    This is insightful?

    Man, I miss intelligent conversation on Cubs Den.

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    In reply to Cliff1969:

    Exactly

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    In reply to TheSarge#36:

    + His coaching staff. Not too easy to change the whole roster plus not really necessary

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    I would have kept Bote on the bench and not use him as a PH. When we take Murphy out for defense Bote is our best defensive player on the bench.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    He can do that now.

  • Man hader mowed em all down that inning

  • In reply to bolla:

    Both innings...

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    In reply to bolla:

    Hader was due. This is what you expect which is why what Rizzo did to him was so epic.

  • See this is what irritates me, Schoop NEVER walks. Believe it or not he’s worse than Baez at drawing walks yet chisek puts him on with a walk. The cubs struggle way too much with throwing strikes

  • Kris Bryant is hurt: should not be playing.
    Joe Maddon is dumb: should not be managing.

  • You can’t win to many games scoring two runs. Same inept offense we’ve seen all year. Better rest Zoe tomorrow to keep him fresh for next year.

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    Glad I switched from what was an "offensive effort" from our Cubs hitters to an action packed offense filled quarter of football in Oakland.

    Raiders may not be a doormat after trading us Mack.

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    2 runs off Wade Miley is embarrassing.

    That AB Almora decided not to take a walk is going to end up HUGE....... as it let Miley off the hook and get into a lil rhythm and save him pitches to get deeper in the game then he should have.

  • Strike 4 & he’s still up...

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    If Zorilla doesn't lead off w something here, we done.

  • Its kind of silly picking on Almora Jim when he has gotten the last Cubs hit when there has been only 5 hits total.

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    In reply to clarkAddson:

    Telling the truth is picking on him? If it was any player, I would be saying the same thing. I am sorry then. That was an incredible at bat in the 1st inning. He was selectively aggressive and almost took a ball ( ball 4 by the way in a 3-1 count so not in protect mode) a foot outside into a wide open right field !

    Willson was terrible today even though he got a hustle double. His at bats were almost as bad as Russell's.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    With all due respect, there were plenty of bad at bats by the Cubs to choose from today. Most all of them swung at bad pitches on good counts.

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    In reply to clarkAddson:

    I didn't say others played good or better. I am just calling it like I see it. Even someone above posted the same thing. I think this may be the 1st time I criticized Almora all year, but again I am sorry if I offended you pointing out what I saw.

    I just think when our team scores only 2 runs, that was a very big at bat esp as that was the 1st inning and Miley was on the ropes. I didn't know then that was the only time he would be that shaky all night.

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    In reply to clarkAddson:

    I didn't even say anything about his 9th inning at bat either so I could be more critical, but I won't be.

    I just think that 1st inning AB could have been a turning point in the game. Who knows though w the way your thinking, Almora could have walked and then Willson ( struggling worse then most on this team) would have done Nada w the bases loaded. I just wish we had the opportunity.

  • Well, Maddon better be playing his BEST lineup from now on until they win the Division or we may be playing the WC game (and even that is NOT certain now).

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    You can't complain about someone picking on your favorites and then pick on Joe, again. He's not gonna play his "best" lineup or what you think is his best. He doesn't work that way. He mixes his lineups and plays all of his players. Criticizing him game after game after game (after game...) doesn't accomplish anything.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Where do you guys get off on putting words in my mouth. I am not picking on Joe. I said he better play his best lineups now until we clinch. Isn't that what a Manager is supposed to do? I am referring that the players do not need to rest. In addition, I do not have favorites and unlike you and some others, I have never said anything bad about or put down any Cub player.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Where? Game after game after game, as soon as the lineup comes out, you start complaining about Joe's lineup. How the heck do YOU know who needs to rest and who doesn't? Are your assumptions more valid than Joe's knowledge, observation and communication with the players he lives and works with? As for Almora, his approach at the plate in the past month has been pitiful. That's not "picking on him," or a "putdown," that's a realistic observation. His plate discipline has regressed terribly and that doesn't change because he gets a hit or two.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I did not say anything about this lineup today as you are insinuating. But I did say I thought the lineups were bad on the double header day and I think that was proven. Are you the only one that can state your opinion without getting questioned? BTW, Almora's BA YTD is .291 currently. Only Zo and Baez have a higher BA. The past month only Rizzo, Zo, Murphy, Bryant, and Baez have done better but you and others nitpikAlmora for every little thing so I stick up for him.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Ah... I understand now. Whenever you criticize Joe or a player, it's a realistic observation, but only you (in your opinion) for 12 years. Also, I was playing organized baseball before Joe was born and played organized ball until I was 50 along with coaching and umpiring my kids leagues. What are you credentials?

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    OMG, I am SO sorry to question your pronouncements. I didn't realize that you, due to your vast experience, are baseball deity. I could never have "credentials" to match yours and my career outside of the game of baseball was wasted. I'm so ashamed! Please don't banish me to the Wrigley Field visitor's clubhouse for all eternity for thinking that Almora was wrong for swinging at pitches two feet outside the strike zone and taking pitches right down the middle. I know now that it's only my opinion and that I'm just picking on him.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    That's alright. Apologies accepted.

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    The only good thing I can say tonight is that Eugene is winning 3-0 in the 5th inning.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Maybe they should trade lineups with the Cubs. Could be interesting...

  • Joe is in a major slump. Last game he opted for the Harper/Wilson matchup instead of Zimmermam/Cishek. Tonight, he wastes Schwarber and lets Almora bat against a tough righty in the 9th, and Almora takes a third strike right down the middle.

  • In reply to jeffalson:

    Managers make decisions. There is no such thing as a slump, only mistakes which we all make.

  • The cubs look tired and listless to be honest, This is getting scary

    I don’t want anything to do with a wild card game. Watching this offense/bullpen in a one game playoff? Yikes

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    In reply to bolla:

    That goes w out saying as nobody wants to be involved in a winner take all wild card game.

    Although our Cubs without an Ace or a closer, who would want anything to do w a wild card play in game? A very scary proposition

  • In reply to bolla:

    Now, you're gonna get accused of "being on the ledge" and not having faith in your team. Get ready for the onslaught of "they're still in first" and "best record in the NL," etc.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I'm usually ahead of the "everything is fine" train, but not here and now. Cubs are gassed and have been inconsistent all year, and the Brewers are hot. FiveThirtyEight and Fangraphs both have the Cubs at about 70% to win the division, but those don't take fatigue or slumps into account. Feels much more like a coin flip.
    Ugh, Edwards. Least favorite Cub in a long time. I know the offense is just as much to blame, but man. Pathetic to watch a big league player with so little fortitude.

  • In reply to Kramerica20:

    Edwards is a mystery, for sure. He's certainly got the stuff and it's clear that his issues are in his mind. At one point, I was hoping he'd become a closer, but I sure can't see it now.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I've been on the ledge lol ,the cubs haven't been consistent the whole season. I said those magic # countdowns were premature imo. Hopefully they salvage this series.Got quintana pitching tonight *grabs barf bag*

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    In reply to bolla:

    He pitches well against the Brewers, remember, lol?

  • In reply to bolla:

    Quintana has been very good lately. 3.58 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in his last 5 starts. In his last 8 starts he only has a slightly higher 3.83 ERA with a 1.13 WHIP. Opponents in that span are hitting .227 against him. You might want to cut him some slack.

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