Chicago Cubs: pitching will be key against hot-hitting Milwaukee
For the most part, the Cubs’ pitching staff has finally begun to turn things around. At the beginning of the season, it seemed as though the Cubs’ pitchers could do nothing but give up runs and blow leads. However, as the Cubs’ bats have heated up, their pitching staff as a whole has seemed to regain composure and settle down. They are currently fourth in the Majors in ERA with a combined 3.67, and they are tied with the Twins for the fifth-lowest number of runs allowed.
This squad will have to execute almost perfectly against a tough Milwaukee lineup. Obviously, Yelich poses the greatest threat at the plate. Since Yelich has great plate discipline, Cubs pitchers will need to paint the edges and corners of the strike zone and hope for Yelich to lay off.
Cubs’ pitchers will need to be careful not to allow the bottom of the Brewers’ order to get on base as the top of the order usually consists of Lorenzo Cain, Yelich, and Mike Moustakas. It will be imperative to try to minimize the opportunities for these sluggers to drive in runs.
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Series pitching matchups will see all lefties start for the Cubs
Friday’s series opener will feature two lefties, as Jose Quintana will face off against Gio Gonzalez. Quintana has been solid thus far; he is currently 4-1 with a 3.40 ERA and 40 strikeouts over 39 2/3 innings. Gonzalez, who just signed a one-year deal on April 27, has allowed three earned runs in his first 10 1/3 innings this season.
On Saturday, we’ll see Cole Hamels look to improve to 4-0 as he faces Zach Davies, one of the Brewers’ best arms. Davies is currently 4-0 with a stellar 1.56 ERA over seven starts. Hamels leads the team with 44 strikeouts in 42 2/3 innings of work.
Finally, the Sunday series finale will pit Cubs’ ace Jon Lester against Jhoulys Chacin. Even though he missed some time due to a hamstring issue, Lester is off to an impressive start for the Cubs, boasting a 1.41 ERA in 32 innings, along with 33:7 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Chacin, on the other hand, has struggled this season. He has a 5.03 ERA and 29:20 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 39 1/3 innings. Cubs hitters will look to take advantage of Chacin’s high walk rate in this game.
Friday’s and Saturday’s games will be afternoon games with a 1:20pm start time, with Sunday’s 6:05 matchup being featured on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.