Pretty sparse week for the Cubs, as they got a rainout on Tuesday and a schedule off-day on Wednesday. So whatever worries there were about a tired pen, a mere five games into the season, will be erased. Or at least you’d hope. They’ll keep the NL Central theme going, with an early look at what it is likely to be their closest competitor this season, the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Crew have been spiky this season, going 4-1 and capping it off with a two-pitch, bottom of the 9th rally against the Cardinals that saw Yelich and Needles McGee homer to snap a 5-4 win out of the jaws of a 4-3 defeat. They’ve been scoring a lot of runs, putting four across in every game but their opener. And that was the fear with them, the additions of Yelich and Cain making this an offense you’d hang a “Beware of Dog” sign on in front of.
Thursday and Friday: 7:10pm CT on NBCSN Chicago/670 The Score
Saturday: 3:05pm CT on FS1/670 The Score
Sunday: 1:10pm CT on WGN/670 The Score
Couple notes here: Obviously, Schwarber could return in left as Zobrist was the plan on Tuesday. Zobrist could slide to right.
Notes: With Lester on the mound it’s likely Santana stays in right with Braun replacing Thams at 1st. We shall see.
1. Lorenzo Cain (R) CF
3. Ryan Braun (R) LF
5. Jesse Aguilar (R) 1B
6. Hernan Perez (R) 2B
7. Orlando Arcia (R) SS
8. Jett Bandy (L) C
9. Brent Suter (L) P
Brent Suter: No, he doesn’t play hockey. No, neither did his father, as far as I can tell. Certainly wasn’t part of the Plan A in the rotation this season for Milwaukee, but due to injuries and incompetence here we are. His first start saw him get through five innings against the Padres in a win. He’s not going to wow you with anything, as just like his teammate Zach Davies they do Hendricks impressions with a limited fastball and hopefully pinpoint control. Suter doesn’t get a lot of groundballs though, nor a bevy of soft contact like the man they’re trying to emulate. If he’s even off by a scoshe, he’s going to get mullered.
Brandon Woodruff: Woodruff was once one of the Brewers premier prospects, but injuries kneecapped him a bit last season, throwing only 75.1 innings at AAA last year. Two years ago he struck out nearly 10 hitters per nine at Double-A, so there’s something here. In his brief time up last year he really only featured two pitches, which is going to be a problem in the future for him if he doesn’t find them a friend or two. The fastball is lively, averaging 95 MPH and a slider with bite. If the rotation had been fully healthy he probably wouldn’t be up this soon, but here we are. He’s been trotting out a change this year, we’ll see how much he trusts it in his first start this season.
Zach Davies: You know the drill here. Davies does a Hendricks impression, with not impressive stuff but a superior brain and he gets the grounders that Suter can’t seem to find yet. Much like Hendricks, Davies goes with a sinker exclusively, one that gets 56% groundballs but hitters did manage a .295 average against last year. He doesn’t quite have the control to really surge yet. Bryant wears him out, hitting .393 off of him.
Chase Anderson: Anderson has the more varied repertoire, throwing a four-seam, a cutter, sinker, curve, and change. His fastball is firm enough, averaging 94 MPH. The sinker and curve get a lot of grounders, and the curve is the real weapon as it generates whiffs on a third of the swings hitters take at it. Until Nelson comes back, Anderson is the biggest K-producer on the Brewers. He hasn’t had much luck with Kris Bryant, who is hitting .400 off of him.
Final Thoughts: There’s always something about the swagger of the Brewers, both team and fans, when they think they can run with the Cubs. A real brashness. Maybe its carryover from Packers bravado. I don’t know. But the Brewers always feel like they have something to prove, and even in April they’ll be putting something on this one. And the Cubs could use the charge, too. You never know if these games might matter in September.
Game preview, Uncategorized
#brewers, Brandon Woodruff, Brent Suter, Chase Anderson, Cubs, jon Lester, Jose Quintana, Kyle Hendricks, Series Preview, Yu Darvish, Zach Davies