The Cubs kick off a big series today (Friday) against the Milwaukee Brewers. Now, normally a series between a first place team and a team that is 40-53 wouldn’t normally be considered “big”, but there are some really huge divisional implications this weekend. While the Cubs had been in a very rough patch in the weeks leading into the all-star break, they have been playing well since, going 4-2 against the Rangers and the Mets. However, the Cardinals have been on quite a tear since the Cubs started struggling, and are now just 6.5 games back in the division. The Cubs have a great opportunity to get back some ground this weekend, though, as the Cubs are playing a bad Brewers team and the Cards have to take on the Dodgers in LA. This is a golden opportunity for the Cubs to pick up a game or two back on the Cards and increase the lead a bit more.
The Brewers are sitting 16.5 back in division and are just 3-7 in their last 10 games, including being just 2-4 against the Reds and Pirates since coming back from the break. The pitching match-ups in the 3 game series are Jimmy Nelson (6-7, 3.39) vs Jason Hammel (8-5, 3.34) Friday, Zach Davies (6-4, 3.79) vs John Lackey (7-6, 3.75), and Junior Guerra (6-2, 3.06) vs Jon Lester (10-4, 2.89). The Cubs are 3-2 against the Brewers so far this season, a game in April was postponed, but they haven’t played since May 19th. What the Cubs do have going for them right now, however, is a few roster moves made today.
As predicted in my blog yesterday (https://cubscoverage.wordpress.com/2016/07/22/roster-crunch-smiles-returning/), the Cubs optioned right hander Spencer Patton to Triple-A Iowa to make room for newly acquired LHP Mike Montgomery. The Cubs have also activated All-Star Center Fielder Dexter Fowler, which can all be happy about. Unfortunately, that means that Albert Almora was optioned back to Iowa, as well.
It is also expected that Joe Nathan could join the big league squad this weekend, in which case someone else would have to be optioned or DFA’d. But I’m sure the FO will cross that bridge when they come to it. Until then, let’s hope we can come away with another series win and pick up a couple more games on the Cardinals.
Game times for the series:
Friday: 7:10 PM on CSN
Saturday: 6:10 PM on WGN
Sunday: 1:10 PM on ABC7