I can't believe we're saying this, but this weekend's three game series with the Cubs is a battle to avoid the cellar in the NL Central as the Brewers and Cubs share equal 13-18 records and are 7 games back of the St. Louis Cardinals in the Central division race. So let's take a look at this series and how I see it shaking down.
Friday: Brewers - LHP Randy Wolf (2-3, 6.68 ERA) vs. Cubs - RHP Matt Garza (2-1, 2.67 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Shaun Marcum (1-1, 3.41 ERA) vs. RHP Chris Volstad (0-4, 6.55 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Marco Estrada (0-2, 4.50 ERA) vs. RHP Jeff Samardzija (4-1, 3.03 ERA)
Times & TV Schedule:
Friday: 7:10pm CT on FSN Wisconsin (Brewers Live at 6:30pm CT)
Saturday: 12:05pm CT on FOX
Sunday: 1:10pm CT on FSN Wisconsin (Brewers Live at 12:30pm CT)
Thoughts on the Series:
It's been refreshing to finally see Aramis Ramirez starting to hit. Over the past week he's got an average of .273 with 7 RBI's and an OPS of .775. We really need his bat right now and I think that pretty much doesn't need an explanation why.
It's very sad when this is the extent of your lineup highlights - Ryan Braun, Jonathan Lucroy, and George Kottaras. At least they've been the most consistent to date and they also led the Brewers last week in hitting.
Braun led the way while batting a ridiculous .450 w/ an OPS of 1.450. All of his run production came off that huge game against the Padres, but for the week he has 3 HR's and 4RBI's. That really speaks to what's going on in front of him right now as no one can seem to get on base to use his hitting to our advantage. Weeks has been god awful and we all know it, unfortunately we can't really sit him because Brooks Conrad hasn't even mustered up a single hit (0-6) since his call up.
If Milwaukee can find a way to take advantage of getting Braun on base, and yes I'm pointing my finger at you Corey Hart (.045 avg over past 7 games), then the Brewers will win games, it's just that simple.
Over the past week this is just how pathetic this offense has been: Just 4HR's and and 11 extra base hits... AS A TEAM and producing an average of just 3 runs a game! Add in the terrible pitching (Greinke's start aside of course) and you can see how bad things have gotten.
Ya, there's no sugar coating it, that's bad and doesn't surprise me that we've got just a 2-5 record in that time frame.
But what about the Cubs? They obviously aren't much better according to their record, right?
As a team they've hit 4HR's and had 14 extra base hits over the past 7 games while compiling a record of 4-3 in games against the Braves and Dodgers at home, so that's an impressive record considering where those two teams stand and clearly shows their pitching is helping in the cause as well.
Individually Brian LaHair and Starlin Castro are the batters that really stand out and both have had great weeks to match their great starts to the season. Both have batting averages well above the norm with LaHair leading the team on the season at .384 and Castro following up at .347. So stopping the rest of the team from killing you is going to be important for the Brewers pitchers and the defense.
Absolutely nothing is going to surprise me with this Brewers team anymore so trying to predict which team we'll see is an exercise in futility, but here goes nothing:
- Friday is a matchup that really, really doesn't bode well for the Brewers. Wolf and his terrible pitching, our slumping hitting as a team, and a sharp Matt Garza who has a WHIP of just 0.89 for the season is not exactly a recipe for success between our batters and Wolf's propensity to break down past the first time or two of the order I'm going to give the game to the Cubs.
- Saturday is the pitching matchup that clearly favors the Brewers in all ways. Marcum has been very consistent since his opening start of the season and Volstad is plain bad this season. I think you'll see Braun, Ramirez, and even Hart feast off his pitching and the Brewers win this one handily.
- Sunday I've got it being a rubber match, but I hate this pitching matchup because both are capable of good outings and Samardzija is a pitcher the Brewers haven't seen starting this season yet. We tend not to do well with those matchups for whatever reason. I'm giving this one to the Cubs unless we can get to Samardzija early on. Once he settles in he's very capable of being a dominate pitcher.