The Milwaukee Bucks are well behind the division-leading Chicago Cubs in the NL Central, but the Brewers lead the season series 4-3 with the clubs opening their final series against one another starting Friday night in Beer Town.
How to Bet Cubs at Brewers MLB Odds & TV Info
- When: Friday, 8:10 PM ET
- Where: Miller Park
- Probable pitchers (away/home): Jon Lester/Brandon Woodruff
- TV: MLB Extra Innings
- Stream/gameday audio: https://www.mlb.com/live-stream-games/
- Opening MLB Lines: TBA
Why Bet on Chicago Cubs?
At the trade deadline, the Cubs dealt for Rays first baseman/DH Jose Martinez but he went 0-for-14 since coming over and has been sent to the team’s alternate training site to clear a spot for Billy Hamilton. He was claimed off waivers from the Mets. Hamilton can serve as a late-inning outfield defensive replacement and a pinch-runner.
Chicago also recently claimed reliever Pedro Strop off waivers but he hasn’t joined the big club yet. Much of it will be based on need, who struggles to create that need and whether Strop still has the stuff. He pitched in only four games for the Cincinnati Reds before he was designated for assignment.
While catcher Willson Contreras has disappointed offensively this year, he has contributed big time in one respect. In 2019, Contreras converted just 48.5 percent of pitches in the shadow zone (essentially the edges of the strike zone, or “roughly one ball width inside and one ball wide outside of the zone”) into called strikes, which placed him 33rd in the league. This year with a new framing strategy, Contreras is currently at 51.4 percent, which is 11th overall. Contreras’ framing efforts have equated to an extra run for the year solely on the stolen strikes.
It’s lefty Jon Lester (2-2) on the mound. Lester surrendered five earned runs over just 3 1/3 innings Sunday in a loss to the Cardinals. Lester issued two walks and gave up six hits, including a solo homer to Tommy Edman in the top of the first inning and a three-run shot to Paul Goldschmidt in the top of the third. The southpaw has a 5.80 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and 29 strikeouts across 40.1 innings this season.
Lester faced the Brewers on Aug. 16 and didn’t factor into the decision while allowing five runs over six innings. Lester allowed nine hits, and he struck out five. The big blows were multi-run homers; a three-run shot by Keston Hiura and a two-run blast by Avisail Garcia.
Why Bet on Milwaukee?
The Brewers took three of four at home vs. the Cubs when the clubs met Aug. 13-16 – although all three Milwaukee wins were by one run.
Earlier this week, the Brewers waived one-time starting first baseman/DH Justin Smoak. The 33-year-old batted just .186/.262/.381 in 126 plate appearances with Milwaukee after signing in December for one year, $4 million with a $5.5 million club option for 2021. Smoak signed with the Giants.
Always good to monitor the status of outfielder/DH Ryan Braun as he has been in and out of action lately because of a back issue. Braun isn’t hitting much and is a long way from the guy who won an NL MVP.
After being acquired from the San Diego Padres last November along with left-hander Eric Lauer, young promising infielder missed all of spring training while recovering from left-hand surgery in late January and then all of summer camp after testing positive for COVID-19 (asymptomatic). Urías finally joined the Brewers on Aug. 10. Since then, he’s become a regular on the infield, bouncing between third base, second and shortstop and has been producing at the plate and in the field.
“He’s played well defensively,” manager Craig Counsell said. “Probably shortstop is the position he’s played the most and is most comfortable at. Our starters are as ground-ball oriented as any rotation in the big leagues, so good defense from our infield is really critical to us having success and I think Luis has been playing really nice defense.”
It’s Brandon Woodruff (2-3) on the mound. Woodruff took a no-decision in his first start off the paternity leave list Saturday versus the Indians. Woodruff struck out seven, but he yielded three earned runs on four walks and three hits over just 4 1/3 innings. Milwaukee ultimately fell 4-3, with Josh Hader taking his first loss of the season. Woodruff is sporting a 3.91 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and 55/15 K/BB ratio in 46 innings.
Woodruff faced the Cubs on Aug. 14 and lasted 4 1/3 innings while giving up three runs in a no-decision. Woodruff was good early on — holding the Cubs without a baserunner until Anthony Rizzo reached on an error with one out in the fourth — but he ran out of gas in the fifth. He gave up a pair of RBI singles and walked in a run in the frame before being pulled.
Brewers 6, Cubs 4
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