Chicago Cubs ready to take aim at lowly Milwaukee Brewers


After taking two-of-three from the Pittsburgh Pirates to open this week’s homestand, the Chicago Cubs are ready to take on the league’s worst team in the division-rival Milwaukee Brewers, who are in town for a three-game weekend set beginning on Friday afternoon.

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Milwaukee will enter Friday’s series opener 12 games under .500 at 5-17 after taking the series finale on the road Wednesday in Cincinnati. Former Cubs hurler Matt Garza led the club to the much-needed win, but Milwaukee still finds itself nearly 10 games out of first place in the National League Central.

After imploding down the stretch in 2014, many Brewers fans had high hopes for this season, but Ron Roenicke‘s club has fallen flat on its face to start the season while the Cubs have dropped just one series in the month of April, working themselves into the top teams in the Central.

To get a better feel for the Brewers heading into the weekend set at Wrigley Field, I sat down with Peter Schwichtenberg of Reviewing the Brew recently to discuss the Brew Crew’s dismal start to the 2015 season. Here’s what he had to offer:

JM: We all know the team’s record isn’t where it needs to be – but what exactly has went wrong for the Brewers so far this season?

So far this year in Milwaukee it hasn’t been, “what’s went wrong,” it has been
what has gone right?” In the last two weeks of spring training, this team was on fire at the plate and they entered the season ice-cold.

When this team gets down early, there is instantly that feeling that they cannot come back.  Often they have pressed and it is very evident in both their body language and their play.  Though it was six months ago, it is almost like last season’s awful finish has carried on to start this year.

Adding injuries to both Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy, both of whom started out cold as well, this team has just had a brutal month.

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JM: How long will Ron Roenicke be the Brewers’ skipper should these struggles continue? Who are some potential replacements?

The word is that he will keep his job and that the veterans need to be held accountable for what is happening, but at some point with the way things are going I would imagine a change being made.

Most likely, I expect the move to happen after the season to allow the new manager to bring in a whole new staff.  If he is let go early, some in-house options include Jerry Narron, Ed Sedar and even Craig Counsell (who is currently working in the front office).

JM: What’s the latest with former Cub Matt Garza? What’s the feeling regarding the right-hander in year two of his four-year pact?

He entered this season with a new intensity and focus, but so far he has greatly struggled with command.  When he has run into trouble this year, it has been when he has nibbled around the corners and struggled with his breaking ball location.

After Wednesday’s outing, he is 2-3 with a 4.60 ERA. The feeling around Milwaukee is that he will probably be traded at some point before his contract runs out, but he is going to need some better results than he has shown lately.

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JM: What’s the Brewers’ ‘x-factor’ to turn things around after a disastrous start to the season?

The ‘x-factor’ with this team continues to be Ryan Braun.

If he can get back to his 2011-12 form, they’ll add a legitimate MVP candidate to a lineup that already features several All-Stars. But before that can happen, he needs to prove that he can remain healthy.

He got both Sunday and Monday off and responded with three home runs over the final two games of the series in Cincinnati. If he can get hot, he has the ability to put the team on his back going forward.

JM: What’s one bright spot from a largely-disappointing first month?

Jean Segura’s turnaround has been awesome to see. His approach at the plate has been outstanding and he has fully adjusted to the leadoff spot.

With many of the roster possibly being put on the block at some point this season, he is starting to show that he may be untouchable. After last year’s trying season both on and off the field, it has been very enjoyable to see his success early-on.

Milwaukee and Chicago will open the three-game set on Friday afternoon at the Friendly Confines. First pitch for the opener is set for 1:20 p.m. CT. Left-hander Jon Lester (0-2. 6.23) is still seeking his first win as a Cub, and will be opposed by right-hander Willy Peralta (0-3, 5.04).