Although the Milwaukee Brewers already cashed in on the NL Central, the Chicago Cubs are still trying to earn an NL Wild Card playoff berth.
The Brewers will ultimately be the No. 3 seed in the National League. They don’t have to worry about anything over the weekend. However, the Cubs likely need to win every game to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Will the Cubs earn a big season-ending sweep against the Brewers in the final weekend of the MLB regular season?
Check out the Cubs vs Brewers Match Odds for this crucial NL series for the Chicago faithful.
Location: American Family Field
The Cubs Bullpen Has Collapsed
Via ESPN Stats & Info, the Chicago Cubs have lost five games in September after holding the lead in the 8th inning or later.
That’s tied for their most such losses in any single month over the last 50 seasons. The other times were in June 1991 and September 1992.
The Cubs never had a legitimate closer to start the season. They tried Mark Leiter Jr. and a couple of other guys in that spot.
However, eventually, Adbert Alzolay got the opportunity to be closer for the Cubs, and it changed the entire season for Chicago.
Alzolay got his first save on May 30 but didn’t earn the closer role until June 9.
At that moment, the Cubs were just 26-36 in their first 62 games. In those 62 games, 15 of them were one-run games. The Cubs went 4-11 in those games.
From the middle of June until September 10, the Cubs went 50-31, with Alzolay in the closer spot. He earned 22 saves on 25 opportunities and currently has a 2.71 ERA with 66 strikeouts, 12 walks, and a WHIP of 1.02.
He’s been sidelined since September 10 with a forearm strain. But he’s nearing his return and could potentially pitch as the closer in this final series before the potential playoff games.
Chicago toyed around with the potential of Marcus Stroman in the closer role. But the Cubs decided to stand pat and wait for Alzolay to return. When he comes back, those blown leads will be no more.
The Brewers Will Rest Pitching Stars For Playoff Run
The Milwaukee Brewers are already locked into the No. 3 spot in the NL Playoffs. The top seeds look at the MLB standings by division first. The Brewers won the NL Central.
The Braves and Dodgers each have better records than the Brewers. But since the Brewers won the NL Central, they’ll get the third spot in the National League. Divisional teams get the first three spots, while the three Wild Card teams get the other three.
Therefore, the Brewers won’t pitch any of their stars.
We won’t see Corbin Burnes, Freddy Peralta, or Brandon Woodruff in this series. That’s good news for the Cubs, but also good news for the Brewers, knowing they’ll have their three aces available on enough rest to start the first three games of their first series.
The Brewers have already announced that Colin Rea and Adrian Houser will each get one more start this season. Meanwhile, Milwaukee is still unsure who will pitch Saturday’s game.
Woodruff is expected to pitch some live bullpen on Friday for his final tuneup, and Peralta will get some extra rest before the playoffs.
There’s also a chance that the Brewers could face the Cubs on Tuesday in the Wild Card Series. Therefore, Milwaukee won’t want to give the Cubs any edge if that series happens.
Take a look at the Cubs vs Brewers Match Odds for the series below.
Early Odds:RL Chicago -1.5 (+150), ML Chicago -106, O/U 8 -125/-105
⚾ Game 1 ⚾
Kyle Hendricks vs Colin Rea
The Chicago Cubs will begin the series with Kyle Hendricks on the mound. The veteran pitcher has thrown in many big games in his Cubs career. This one is just as big.
Hendricks has only struck out 18.5% of batters in the last month. However, he’s also held teams to a .137 wOBA in the previous 30 days. Righties have hit a .410 wOBA and only 31.2% of grounders against Hendricks. So, there are ways for the Brewers to attack him.
Hendricks doesn’t allow many walks, which will help him get through this game.
He’ll face Colin Rea of the Brewers. The right-handed pitcher has struck out 25.3% of batters in the last month. However, lefties have smashed a .310 ISO and wOBA of .391 in the previous 30 days. Rea has been good against righties but has genuinely struggled against lefties throughout the season.
The Cubs haven’t been encouraging against right-handed pitchers over the last month. Only Seiya Suzuki has hit glaringly well against righties over the previous month. Cody Bellinger and Ian Happ also have done well and have good matchups. But they’ve lacked power as a team, hitting a .137 ISO against righties in the last 30 days.
Still, Chicago’s projected lineup has walked 10.8% of the time and has struck out just 18% of the time. The Cubs will at least put the ball in play.
On the other hand, Milwaukee has hit a .113 ISO and wOBA of .268 with their projected lineup over the last month against righties. The Brewers have also struck out 22.3% of the time against righties in that time frame.
The Cubs are -106, while the Brewers are at -104 in Game 1 of this series. Meanwhile, the total is 8, with the over juiced to -125. We’d back the Cubs in an almost must-win situation.
⚾ Game 2 ⚾
Location: Jordan Wicks vs TBD
For now, Jordan Wicks is scheduled for Saturday’s game. The left-hander has held teams to a .136 ISO and wOBA of .290 over the last month. He’s also induced 51.1% of grounders and has held teams to 22.3% of fly balls in the previous 30 days.
Wicks has been an essential piece for the Cubs in the rotation. However, he’s only struck out 11.9% of batters in the last month.
On the other hand, we won’t be able to give any MLB score predictions today for Game 2 of this series. The Brewers will likely wait until the day of to announce the pitcher for Saturday’s game.
However, the Brewers have way more potential against lefties, with Christian Yelich, William Contreras, Mark Canha, and Josh Donaldson all red-hot against lefties over the last 30 days.
The MLB betting odds should have the Cubs favored in this game when the Brewers announce a starter. We’d agree.
⚾ Game 3 ⚾
Justin Steele vs Adrian Houser
It’ll be Justin Steele on the mound for the Cubs in what could be a win-or-go-home matchup. Steele was a Cy Young candidate for most of the season. In the last month, the left-hander has struck out over 30% of batters while walking only 4.2%.
He’s also allowed a .110 ISO and wOBA of .288 over the last month and has earned 53.2% of grounders. Steele has also limited fly balls to 13.8%, earning nearly 12% of swinging strikes in the previous month.
Meanwhile, he’ll face Adrian Houser of the Brewers, who has held his last 63 batters to a .105 ISO and wOBA of .251. Houser has also struggled with lefties but has been super dominant against righties. He also hasn’t earned a high rate of strikeouts.
But batters like Ian Happ and Cody Bellinger have potential against Rea and Houser in this series. When looking at the Cubs vs Brewers Match Odds, we also like the Cubs to win Game 3.