Series Preview: Milwaukee Brewers @ Chicago Cubs

After an entertaining weekend of competition against the team with the best record in baseball, the Brewers kick off a new week with four games against a team that has already retired.

The Chicago Cubs should have been a dynasty, but their owners decided to develop Wrigleyville into their own version of Times Square (in which they own, corporatize, and sterilize everything) was more important than maintaining and supplementing their championship core.

And now that Cubs era of baseball is dead forever. But hey, at least the Rickets still have their real estate.


Here’s a list of the players who haven’t been with the Cubs since we last saw them, a three-game sweep by the combined score of 31-12 that actually won the sale:

-Kris Bryant

– Javier Baez

-Anthony Rizzo

– Joc Pederson

– Jake Marisnick

-Craig Kimbrel

-Trevor Williams

– Eric Sogard

-Andrew Chafin

That’s over a third of a roster put back in a few months, and now the Cubs are regularly putting guys with names like Frank Schwindel and Johneshwy Fargas on the roster. The roster will be even weaker this week with Jason Heyward landing on the injured list.

This has led to some of the Cubs lineups over the past two weeks that are more like an Iowa Cubs roster, with the middle of the order made up of guys like Schwindel and David Bote and Patrick Wisdom and Matt Duffy.

Even with the Brewers’ pitching situation evolving for next week, it’s not terribly scary lineup to contend with, even if Milwaukee has to go for spot starters among the miners.

The Probable Pitchers

Monday, 7:05 p.m. – Freddy Peralta vs. Alec Mills

Peralta is the only starter the Brewers officially listed for this series Monday morning, as guys like Adrian Houser and Eric Lauer are still on the COVID roster. Mills joined the Cubs’ full-time rotation in mid-June and was not as successful as he did in last year’s COVID-cut short year, but was a decent back spin guy. The problem with Chicago is that their entire rotation is made up of guys from the back rotation at this point. Mills just finished a solid 6 innings in which he allowed 2 runs on 8 hits against the Rockies last Wednesday. He won’t miss a lot of bats at all, but he’s been the elite to miss the barrel, with a barrel rate ranking in the 92nd percentile of all pitchers this year.

Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. – TBD vs. Justin Steele

Steele is moved into the rotation as the Cubs transition to the 6-player model starting this week. The southpaw has been almost entirely a fastball slider out of the pen, so it remains to be seen if he will start sprinkling more curved balls as he stretches. He’s been effective in limited action in the bullpen this year, striking out 21 batters in 13.1 innings while posting a WHIP of 1.05 and ERA of 2.03, but this will be his first. appearance since May. He has made 9 appearances in Iowa since then, including 5 starts, clocking a 1.32 ERA in 27.1 innings, striking out 29 catches while walking 13 and putting a WHIP below 1.

Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. – TBD vs Jake Arrieta

If the Cubs were genuinely trying to be competitive, Arrieta would have vanished from their rotation after the game in which he lost a 7-0 lead in the first inning. Instead, he launched another month and a half after that. If it weren’t so funny, it would be legitimately confusing. Arrieta has rightfully been one of baseball’s worst starting pitchers this year, ranking in the bottom 10% in terms of average exit speed, hard hit percentage, puff percentage, chase rate, expected hits, expected hits, ERA expected and wOBA expected. He has a 6.34 ERA in 19 starts and has an fWAR of -0.7 and a bWAR of -1.8.

Thursday, 1:20 p.m. – TBD vs. Kyle Hendricks

Hendricks may be the Cubs’ best starter this season, but he’s still a long way from where he was a few years ago. He entered this start with an ERA of 3.68 but an FIP of 4.57 in 23 starts. Although he threw one of the majors slower fastballs this year – his 87 mph at four seams only ranks in the 3rd percentile – he still managed to increase the chase rate in the 94th. percentile thanks to this extremely good change. The Brewers scored 4 times against him in 6 innings on June 28 as part of that three-game sweep. He comes off a very solid start against a tough White Sox lineup in his last outing, limiting them to just 2 points in 6 innings while also pulling a season 7 record.

Statistics courtesy of Statcast and Fangraphs

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