RECORDS: Brewers 7-6 Cubs 6-6
GAME TIMES: 7:05 Monday and Tuesday, 1:20 Wednesday
TV: CSN+ Monday, WGN Tuesday and Wednesday
NORTH OF THE CASTLE: Brew Crew Ball
The Cubs will try and recover from their first real reverse of the 2017 season, which arrived about two months earlier than it did last season. Nothing ever stays the way it was, does it? Catching the Brewers right now isn’t much of a break, as they’ll steam into Wrigley having taken five of the last six since these two danced 80 miles up the road. Though beating the Jays these days… does that really count? I’ll let you decide.
The major story with the Crew these days is Eric Thames. You may remember him from such leagues as the Korean one. He was something of the curiosity this season, as baseball history isn’t exactly littered with guys who dominated that league and then came over here and did anywhere near the same. Still, Thames has blasted five homers over the past week, at least providing a memory if it all goes balls-up from here.
He’s been supported of course by Needles McGee, who has a .979 OPS the past week since the Cubs last saw him, and you can be sure there’s at least one shot onto Waveland waiting these next three days because that’s just how these things go with him. Domingo Santana also went neon in Toronto, so you can see how the Brewers have heated up in the past week. And this might be the only time they’re ahead of the Cubs in the standings, which you can be sure their traveling support won’t mention at all while watching their favorite sons.
While their starters haven’t really been all that good outside of Jimmy Nelson, the bullpen has been immaculate, which should make all of us just a tad jealous. Barnes, Feliz, Knebel, and Drake have been throwing up clean sheets all week, so it hasn’t mattered too much that no Brewers starter has seen the seventh outside Nelson and Chase Anderson in his last start. It’s not the thing you’d expect to continue, but the Brewers have fashioned a bullpen out of scraps and and cardboard before.
On the flip side, top of the lineup fireplug Jonathan Villar, suffering from The Ivy Drip Spotlight curse clearly, has been a tire fire to start the season. He’s hitting .160 and striking out in nearly 40% of his ABs. He’s not alone, as Keon Broxton, Orlando Arcia, and Hernan Perez are down there with him trying to figure out how to escape the darkness. So the Crew probably isn’t going to come in here and pile up the runs. But then when throwing Lackey and especially Anderson after he needed to be rescued by the Hawk… one never knows for sure.
The weekend didn’t feel good, but thankfully came so early in the season that it doesn’t mark the beginning of any trend. Everyone in the middle of the pen just had a rough day all at the same time. This week will see divisional foes who are playing well, but aren’t expected to stick around too long. Let’s get better.