The sweet smell of Provel and magically sticky baseballs is behind us, and the Cubs move from the home of one crappy beer to another. The Brewers could be a really fun team in a few years, but they are not there yet.
Team Leaders (projected)
- OBP: Anthony Rizzo (.382)
- SLG: Rizzo (.529)
- HR: Rizzo / Kris Bryant (33)
- R+RBI: Bryant (213)
- wOBA: Rizzo (.385)
- BSR: Javier Baez (1.3)
- SP K/9: Jake Arrieta (8.95)
- SP BB/9: Kyle Hendricks (2.03)
- SP FIP: Jon Lester (3.34)
- RP K/9: Wade Davis (12.51)
- RP BB/9: Hector Rondon (2.03)
- RP FIP: Davis (2.71)
- WAR: Bryant (5.8)
- OBP: Ryan Braun (.343)
- SLG: Eric Thames (.493)
- HR: Thames (26)
- R+RBI: Braun (159)
- wOBA: Braun (.347)
- BSR: Jonathan VIllar (3.8)
- SP K/9: Junior Guerra (8.20)
- SP BB/9: Tommy Milone (2.46)
- SP FIP: Zach Davies (3.91)
- RP K/9: Corey Knebel (11.28)
- RP BB/9: Blaine Boyer (2.47)
- RP FIP: Jacob Barnes (3.46)
- WAR: Davies (2.8)
The Brewers loooove to steal bases. Jon Lester was originally going to start in this series, but he was flipped to face the Dodgers because 'they struggle against lefties'. To quote April Ludgate, it could be more than one thing.
The Brewers are down two starters, with surprise 2016 breakout Junior Guerra on the DL with a strained calf and a less surprising 2016 breakdown Matt Garza on the shelf with a groin strain. The Brewers staff isn't that great, but I don't think they'll miss Garza all that much at this point.
K/9, BB/9, projected ERA listed for each starter.
With Anderson getting his first start, we get to see something kind of strange, namely someone new performing for the 2017 Cubs. He's a worm killing machine who somehow put up a sub-3 ERA during a stint in Colorado (just eight starts). I expect to see Javy at second base in this one.
Nelson had a pretty good 2015 in his first full year as a starter and was tabbed to be a guy to take a step forward in 2016. Things didn't work out so nicely, though my lying brain tells me he pitched pretty well against the Cubs*. His walk rate jumped and he started giving up a ton of home runs, two things you don't usually see with a guy who generates a ton of ground balls. Hitters were getting tons of hard contact against him, and he was especially crushed by lefties.
*He made six starts against the Cubs in 2016 – he shut them out into the eigth inning in one, but was knocked around in the rest. Yay memory.
Saturday: Cyle Hendricks, RHP (7.73, 2.18, 3.46) vs Tommy Milone, LHP (7.50, 2.34, 4.40), 6:10 PM CT
You would not expect a guy who led the league in ERA to be the fifth guy up in the rotation the following year, but here we are. Milone couldn't stick in the 2016 Twins rotation, which pretty much sums up where he is as a pitcher. I mix him up with Lucas Harrell and half a dozen other forgettable Astros pitchers for some reason, despite never having pitched for the Astros.
Sunday: Jay Carrieta, RHP (8.68, 2.87, 3.28), vs Zach Davies, RHP (7.71, 2.69, 4.18), 1:10 PM CT
Jake looked pretty good in his first start, missing bats, throwing a slurve, getting weak contact. But the velo gun had him way down relative to last year, which was kind of confusing. I've seen all sorts of explanations, ranging from that the system was buggy (it was), to that he was told to take it easy early in the season (Jake has just one gear). Lots of folks are going to be watching the data carefully in this one.
It's too bad Davies isn't matched up with Cyle, as they are relatively similar pitchers. Davies also has a great changeup, which has been a bit of a problem for certain Cubs players in the past whose names rhyme with Miss Secant. He was crushed by the Rockies on Tuesday, walking four while striking out just one and giving up 6 runs in 4+ innings.
Will the Cubs win: It could go either way.