Every game is crucial from here on out for the National League Wild Card contending Cubs, thankfully the next few are against Milwaukee. Chicago has been very solid against the beer enthusiasts this season going 4-0 in Wisconsin earlier this month. The Cubs not only swept the series but brought their bats, outscoring the hometown Brewers 17-8 at Miller Park.
If the first game MLB betting line in the series is any indication, then it looks like the Cubs should be sitting pretty heading into the weekend. I think the icing on the cake will come on Thursday though, when Jon Lester (7-8, 3.22 ERA) dismantles Tyler Cravy (0-3, 5.40 ERA).
Lester is 3-0 over his last four starts with 19 hits given up through 29.1 innings of work. The big stat though of course, is his 30 strikeouts in that time as well. He put up a great effort in his last start against San Francisco, but the city is still reeling over that July 29th game against the Rockies. Lester burned 14 strikeout victims resulting in a 3-2 Cubs win.
Heading into this three-game swing with the Cubs, the Brewers are 7-13 since July 22nd. They’ve been outscored 82-56 in that span and were also shutout on five of those occasions as well. Meanwhile, the Cubs are a team on a mission. With an NL Wild Card spot directly in their sights, the team has gone 12-5 since the 22nd heading into this three-game set.
The Cubs have had one of their hottest August starts in team history going 7-1 against the Brewers, Pirates and Giants. Fortunately for Pittsburgh their August 3rd game with the Cubs was postponed to a later date. I say fortunate for them because Chicago was riding a five game win streak and shutout the Bucs at PNC 5-0 the following night.
I think August is going to be a great month for baseball in the Windy City. Following their Brewers series, we get ready for another Crosstown Classic with the struggling White Sox this weekend. The team will then meet the Tigers, Braves, Indians, Giants, Dodgers and Reds before September. More good news for Cubs fans, only two of those teams (Giants and Dodgers) are above .500.
The power is kicking in, the pitching is there and the schedule throughout August and into September is also on our side. It all starts with a strong showing though against Milwaukee this week.