Set to begin what could end up being a very decisive series for the NL Central, the (12-3) Chicago Cubs will host the (7-9) Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field starting tonight (7.15pm ET Thursday). The series is set to go four games, with all taking place in Chicago.
In advance of giving USAbetting’s Milwaukee Brewers vs Chicago Cubs predictions for this game one encounter, we’ll preview the form of each squad and discuss the issues surrounding this MLB matchup.
How Chicago Cubs Have Been Performing
Looking to return to the World Series after last winning the title in 2016, the Chicago Cubs are off to their best 15-game start to the season in 50 years. An impressive 12-3, the Cubs run of success began early in the season when the team went 4 for 6 in their opening slate, winning series against divisional rivals, Milwaukee and the Cincinnati Reds. The Cubs then won six in a row against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals, before getting some unscheduled time off and sweeping their two-game series against the Cleveland Indians.
Not much has gone wrong for Chicago this year despite the team being just a little better than average in most offensive and pitching categories. Chicago’s best hitter has been Ian Happ, who ranks as just the 33rd best hitter in baseball. Happ has a .302 batting average, 1.015 OPS and just three extra base hits (all three home runs) on the season. He has been one of baseball’s best on base guys, reaching base at an 11th best, .434 rate. From the mound, the Cubs have one of the best starters in baseball in Jon Lester, who ranks third in the league with his 1.06 ERA. He is 2-0 so far and has given up just seven hits in 17 innings. Yu Darvish, who will be on the mound in today’s game one, ranks 15th in MLB with a 2.12 ERA. He has also struck out 16 in just 17 innings pitched.
Brewers Season So Far
The season hasn’t quite gone the way the Milwaukee Brewers were hoping for as the team has struggled to find any consistency in 2020. Staked to a losing record thus far, the Brewers opened their year losing the first series to the Cubs, before winning a series against Pittsburgh, and then having their own unscheduled break during what should have been a series against the St. Louis Cardinals. With the Cardinals dealing with a COVID outbreak, it is unknown when these make-up games will be played. With their series against the Cardinals postponed, the Brewers were back in action against the Chicago White Sox, where they split a four-game set before losing back-to-back series against the Reds and then the Minnesota Twins.
Milwaukee has been a pretty average team this year. While they have had moments and flashes of success, the Brewers have been unable really to string anything together. Their biggest winning streak is two-in-a-row and they only accomplished that once. On the same note, their biggest losing streak is just two-in-a-row. From a stats perspective, that makes sense as the Brewers rank as just the 23rd best team in MLB offensively, with an overall batting average of just .221. From the mound however, Milwaukee actually bests Chicago, with its pitchers combining for a 3.69 ERA, good enough for the 9th best in MLB.
Pitching Probables: (CHI) Yu Darvish vs (MIL) Brett Anderson
Taking the mound for the Cubs will be the righty, Yu Darvish, who is coming off a win in his last start and who is 2-1 on the year. Darvish has just a 2.12 ERA with 16 strike outs, though it is worth noting that he did take the mound in Chicago’s loss earlier this season against the Brewers. In that game, Darvish gave up just three runs in four innings. In his career against Milwaukee’s hitters, Darvish has found success, holding Christian Yelich to just three hits in 13 plate appearances and holding Ben Gamel to just three hits in 12 plate appearances. Darvish has looked good this year and he’ll want to keep that run going when he gets the ball at home tonight.
Taking the mound for the Brewers is the lefty, Brett Anderson, who will be looking to shake off a rough start to the year. Anderson has made just two starts in 2020 and has an 0-1 record and ERA of 5.40. Anderson was actually scheduled to be on the mound against Chicago when these two teams had their first series earlier in the year but was scratched due to a blister. He will now have his opportunity as he goes against a Cubs team he has had decent success against in the past. In three prior career starts against Chicago, Anderson is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 14 strike outs in just 16 innings. That said, those numbers drop dramatically at Wrigley as he is just 2-2 with an 8.49 ERA in six starts in Chicago.
Our Betting Preview’s Milwaukee Brewers vs Chicago Cubs Predictions & Picks Conclusion
2020 has been a bit of a struggle for the Brewers, who have been playing undermanned since day one. Lorenzo Cain opted out, Ryan Braun has been injured and one of last year’s best players, Christian Yelich, is hitting a woeful .175 with just nine RBI on the year. It’s no wonder that the Brewers have failed to find consistency on offense. Today they will face a tough test against Darvish and a Cubs team that has lost just three games this year.
Look for Chicago to keep that train going as they welcome the Brewers to Wrigley to start their final home series against Milwaukee this year. Entering the series, Chicago holds a comfortable 5.5 game lead in the Central, in what may very well come down to just a three-horse race with the Cardinals future uncertain. Divisional games are always important but especially this year.
With those thoughts in mind, these are USAbetting’s picks and Milwaukee Brewers vs Chicago Cubs predictions for this MLB game one clash:
- Take Darvish and the Cubs to pick up the win to kick off the series -1.5 runs @ +110 with Bovada and Intertops on the spread.
- Go over 8.5 on the runline @ +100 with 5Dimes, Intertops or BetOnline.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.