Cubs @ Brewers Series Preview (4/5-4/8): Dr. Livingston, I Presume?

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.

Watch/Listen

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

Lineups (Probable)

Cubs

1. Ben Zobrist (S) LF
2. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Addison Russell (R) SS
6. Albert Almora Jr. (R) CF
7. Javier Baez (R) 2B
8. Jason Heyward (L) RF
9. Jon Lester (L) P
Couple notes here: Obviously, Schwarber could return in left as Zobrist was the plan on Tuesday. Zobrist could slide to right.
Thursday Lineup
1. Ian Happ (S) LF
2. Ben Zobrist (S) RF
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Willson Contreras (R) C
6. Albert Almora Jr. (R) CF
7. Addison Russell (R) SS
8. Javier Baez (R) 2B
9. Jon Lester (L) P
Brewers
1. Eric Thames (L) 1B
2. Christian Yelich (L) LF
3. Lorenzo Cain (R) CF
4. Travis Shaw (L) 3B
5. Domingo Santana (R) RF
6. Jonathan Villar (S) 2B
7. Manny Pina (R) C
8. Eric Sogard (L) SS
9. Brent Suter (L) P
Notes: With Lester on the mound it’s likely Santana stays in right with Braun replacing Thams at 1st. We shall see.
Thursday Lineup
1. Lorenzo Cain (R) CF
2. Domingo Santana (R) RF
3. Ryan Braun (R) LF
4. Travis Shaw (L) 3B
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
Bullpen Usage
Cubs
screen-shot-2018-04-04-at-4-58-31-pm
Brewers
screen-shot-2018-04-04-at-4-59-14-pm
Opposing Pitchers
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.

 

Comments

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  • fb_avatar

    I will tell you one thing. Even though there is no Schwarbenator in the line-up.......I think we will score 5+ tonight

    Happ
    Zo
    KB
    Rizzo
    Willy
    Almora
    Addy
    Javy
    Lester

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I like the looks of the lineup. BenZo is the wildcard who can perhaps add a really nice influence in taking pitches and working better at bats.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cubber Lang:

    I am going to watch the full game for the 2nd time this yr. Too bad its going to start on a diff channel cuz poor white sox can't hold a huge lead late.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Problem is Zobrist should really be a bench player

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    No, Zobrist getting base hits is really not a “Problem” at all...

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Do you have some lottery #'s you could give me? Good call on the runs tonight !!!

  • fb_avatar

    Not a good start Happ........least put the ball in play.......your leadoff man and your facing a soft toss

  • Lester just had a Castro moment.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I stand corrected. The whole infield had a Castro moment, nobody moved. Very strange.

  • I hope the Cubs don't wait too long, as they did last season with Schwarber, and leave Happ in the leadoff spot to hinder his development. Listen, I LIKE this kid, I really do. But he is not a high OBP guy and a high KO guy. So why have him leading off? Other than the fact that we don't have a traditional lead off guy in the lineup, I don't see a compelling reason.

  • fb_avatar

    Re: Ian Happ. When Javy Baez shows more plate discipline than you...

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    El Mago. If that kid keeps have at bats like the last one, he's a hall of famer.

  • There you go javier. Hush the baez haters he's a game changer

  • In reply to bolla:

    LOL

  • Javy's teaching Braun how to play baseball.

  • fb_avatar

    New lineup and some Javy magic and we are up 3-0 early

    F you Braun

  • fb_avatar

    I love Javy! He has such a high baseball IQ and yet not at the plate. That just doesn’t make sense, although he did hit it right up the middle for a big hit.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I'm not sure Javy isn't the new all-time gold standard for instincts in the field and on the bases. The third base coach may as well not exist.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Our 3rd base coach should just put up both hands and say do what you want—you know better than I do. Javy sees things in nanoseconds and knows what to do.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Instead of the hold sign he just shrugs when Javy is coming.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Having said all of that, it was amusing watching him make sure he was safe after the slide. Probably didn't want to deal with Joe if he'd gotten called out on that play.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Ha ha! He ran thru his stop sign on that... I was laughing, only Javy could be safe on that play.

  • fb_avatar

    This umpire called 2 strikes on Zo that we’re outside the box and 2 on Willson and that’s just the two batters I remember.

  • fb_avatar

    Guess we just needed to get to the central time zone or perhaps give the team a week and a half ! LOL

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I want to believe it's because I didn't make any pre-game predictions. I'm taking notes...

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    LOL......I need 1 more run for my prediction to be right

  • fb_avatar

    Lester is looking a lot younger. Wow.

  • It's not a stretch to believe that Javy is close to figuring out that pitch recognition thing. 0-2 to a 3-2 and base hit with two runs and two outs.

  • Rizzo needs to lay off that high pitch.

  • Lester has been really sharp. He found his consistent release point tonight

  • fb_avatar

    Okay. No more promising rookies turned into leadoff hitters. (And, yes, I was optimistic on Happ.)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    dilly dilly!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Unless they were leadoff hitters their whole life.

    ZObrist needs to just hit leadoff now at least against righties

    maybe mix n match almora n happ vs lefties if he doesn't want to use Zobrist so much

  • Lester is dialed in tonight

  • Baez showing EXECELLENT Plate discipline. Very encouraging

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bolla:

    Take a note where u were tonight........Javy walked 3x tonight and he still may bat again.............insane

  • fb_avatar

    Javy walked 3 times tonight—even though 2 were intentional. Addy has looked good all year and Lester threw out Braunster trying to steal. So far a great night!

  • Doesn’t Carl Jr usually throw harder than 93-94?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TheSarge#36:

    Long as he's throwing strikes, he's almost unhittable as you saw.......3k's

    If he had to dial it down 1-2 mph to not walk everyone, I am cool w it cuz his stuff is electric = Plus Plus

  • With all the comparisons of this season to the last couple, one thing has remained remarkably consistent: the usual boo-birds don't show up on the game threads when we're playing well.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    79 wins.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    "Lester is probably wishing this game was played because it just set him up for a huge ass-whuppin at the hands of the brewers. I don’t see Lester getting thru 4 innings against the brewers"

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Like I said when idiot made his proclamation that the best team in the central wouldn't be over .500, he/she/it won't show up to respond to all the questions/comments and will only show up when the cubs are doing something bad and cards stomping someone 4-1 in the 4th inning again !

  • How are the Cubs ever score runs this yr??

  • May have seen Knebel tear his hammy.
    Happened to me once. Owwww.... took a long time to heal, too.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to hoffpauir6:

    We should offer them Cishek for Yelich. Just to be nice guys.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    LOL.....even if it was a fair deal, they still wouldn't accept it out of spite

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Jokes aside, I feel terrible for Knebel and bad for their fans. Great year last year and now they're really stuck. The rotation is ugly without Arrieta and now this.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I feel bad for Knebel. I feel bad for the fans who believe their ownership cares about winning. How they don't sign a starter......how could you honestly expect to win the NL Central w that rotation. Honestly they needed to sign 2 starters.

    1 Tor min and 1 mor inning eater

    I would be boycotting that crook Anastacio if I was part of that sad sad group called Brewer fans.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I mean, I get Arrieta was expensive but the psychological impact of the Cubs having to face him and his impact as a locker room leader would have been a big boost for that team. That one really seemed like a no brainer to me. Especially with the deal he finally got from Philly. The Brewers should have been all over that.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I agree w you 100%........If the Cubs whiffed on such an obvious addition by not even trying, imagine how upset the fan base would be. Stearns and Annastacio talk the talk but they all about BS.

  • Great game.Bats woke up and lester pitched a gem then edwards came in throwing some heat. Heyward even hit a hr!!! That's more like it

    Can anyone please tell me how the cubs have 5 of the 1st 100 draft picks this june? I know davis and arrieta comp picks and the cubs own pick. How did they get the other 2 lol

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bolla:

    100 picks is roughly 3 rounds so there is at least 1 more pick ( assuming they pick at the end of the 3rd round which would be after 100 w comp picks rt?)

    Thats 4 picks.......5th pick.....who knows?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    24 (1st round), 62 (second round), and 98 (third round) are their normal picks. 77 (Davis) and 78 (Arrieta) are the comp picks.

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