So this is it, the big showdown between the first-place Cubs and the second-place Brewers. Both teams lost Wednesday night, so Chicago holds a 3.5 game lead over Milwaukee with just 11 games left to play.
The Brew Crew has won seven of their last 10 games, but has actually lost a game and a half in the standings since sweeping the Cubs. On Wednesday night they blew a late lead in a walk-off loss to the Pirates and failed to gain ground. Realistically, the Brewers need to sweep or at least win three of four to stay withing striking distance.
Pitching has carried Milwaukee’s September surge, as they have a team ERA of 2.95 on the month. Zach Davies has been a key to their overall success, posting a 2.71 second-half ERA and acting as a steadying force for an injury-riddled rotation. Closer Corey Knebel had been dominant before losing Wednesday’s game, but he still has a 1.54 ERA on the season.
Don’t look now, but Eric Thames is hitting .323 with three homers in the month of September. Ryan Braun is hitting .474 with two home runs the last week. So be prepared to be annoyed by both of those guys this weekend.
This series will go a long way toward determining who will win the NL Central. The pressure is on the Brewers, who are trailing in the standings. The Cubs have a chance to all but clinch the division with a winning series. Let’s see if they can punch their playoff tickets this weekend.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Thursday, September 21 at 7:10 CT on MLB Network (out of market) and CSN-C+
- Friday, September 22 at 6:35 CT on ESPN and WGN
- Saturday, September 23 at 12:05 CT on Fox
- Sunday, September 24 at 1:10 CT on TBS and ABC-7
What To Watch For
- Jake Arrieta is back after missing nearly three weeks with a Grade 1 hamstring strain. He was pitching great before his injury, winning NL Pitcher of the Month for August.
- Addison Russell has been putting some good swings on the ball since coming off the disabled list on Saturday.
- Anthony Rizzo had a tough series in Tampa, going hitless with three strikeouts over the two games. Maybe he can get it back going in Wisconsin.