Chicago Cubs look to take rubber game from Milwaukee Brewers

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 18: John Lackey
ATLANTA, GA - JULY 18: John Lackey /

The Chicago Cubs won’t be leaving without a lead in the Central, but how big will depend on the outcome today. A win for the Cubs would mean a 2 1/2 game lead as they look to continue their second half surge.

The Chicago Cubs set themselves up with the pickup of Jose Quintana for the second half. While it cost them two of their top prospects, they are just prospects. Many felt that John Lackey might get pushed aside, but that has been far from the truth. Since the break, Lackey is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA. And he’s posted a quality start in five of his last six outings.

While the Cubs (55-48) hope their pitching success continues, it’s the offense that has Joe Maddon worried. The Cubs have split a pair of 2-1 outcomes, and hits have been hard to come by. And while Lackey (7-9, 4.97) has pitched better as of late, the home run ball could always come back to bite him.

The Brewers (55-51) returned home and won the first game of the series–likely feeling as if they were off the slide they had found themselves on. That’s to be determined as Zach Davies (12-4, 4.45) takes the mound as he looks to pitch better at Miller Park (6-4, 6.45 ERA). He’s not lost a start on the road but has struggled at home for the Brewers.

The Cubs offense has gone into a bit of a funk, and Joe Maddon is very aware of it. Just how unusual is it for the Cubs to be winning after striking out so often?

See ball. Hit ball. It doesn’t have to be far. Just hit it. Anthony Rizzo is out of today’s game with a sore back. Victor Caratini will get the start at first base.

Here are the lineups for today’s finale against the Brewers:

First pitch is at 1:10 p.m. CT at Miller Park. Be sure to check back throughout the day for more Cubs news!