Cubs are rolling, but Brewers won’t roll over. Says Christian Yelich: ‘We’re pretty good, too’

Everybody keeps talking about run differential, but the bigger story is the first-place Brewers’ 24-10 record in one-run games.

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Christian Yelich (middle) and the Brewers opened the 2023 season at Wrigley Field. They’ll end it against the Cubs, too, in Milwaukee.

Christian Yelich (middle) and the Brewers opened the 2023 season at Wrigley Field. They’ll end it against the Cubs, too, in Milwaukee.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Cubs are hot, but the National League Central-leading Brewers refuse to roll over.

It’s almost like the dudes from Milwaukee have no appreciation at all for a good Cubs narrative.

‘‘Look, they’re a good team,’’ Brewers star Christian Yelich said, ‘‘but we’ve got a pretty good team over here, too. I would imagine we’ll be pretty tight-knit until the end of the season, and we’ll see what happens.’’

One thing people keep pointing to: run differential. The Cubs — 3½ games back — are at plus-64, much better than the Brewers’ plus-6. Maybe what we all should be talking about is the Brewers’ preposterously good 24-10 record in one-run games, which is just a tiny bit better than the Cubs’ 13-14. Team Clutch rallied to beat the White Sox 7-6 in 10 innings on Friday and rallied again for a 3-2 victory Saturday.

Thanks a bunch for that, Sox.

It’s still wild to think about what the Brewers did at the 2022 trade deadline: deal Josh Hader, the most dominant reliever in the majors, when they had a three-game lead in the division. They ended up one game out of the NL’s last wild-card spot, which went to the Phillies, who ended up in the World Series.

But the Brewers were buyers this time, adding outfielder Mark Canha and first baseman Carlos Santana to a lineup that sorely needed some juice and bringing in a quality left-handed bullpen arm in former Cub Andrew Chafin. Canha had the game-winning double in extras Friday against the Sox.

The Cubs and Brewers have two series remaining, the latter in Milwaukee to end the regular season. Oh, what fun that might be.

‘‘If history has told us anything in the last five, six years between our two teams, it’s probably that those last three games are going to be pretty important,’’ Yelich said. ‘‘It would be good baseball. I guess it would be what everybody wants to see, right?’’

The Cubs seemingly have an advantage — a huge one, really — the rest of August, when they’ll face the White Sox, Royals, Tigers and Pirates before ending the month with three games against the Brewers at Wrigley Field. The Brewers have the division-leading Dodgers, Rangers and Twins on tap, then the Padres and Cubs. The next two-plus weeks might tip the scales in favor of the North Siders.

Yelich has no fear.

‘‘This team doesn’t really ride the highs and lows,’’ he said. ‘‘Every series is a big series, no matter who you play. That’s how we’ve always been. That’s who we are. We’ll keep playing, and if [the Cubs are] there at the end, we’ll see. It’s always fun playing those guys and usually a tight game. That’s why it’s a good rivalry.’’

And an underrated one at that.

THREE-DOT DASH

Josh who? It’s not like the Brewers miss Hader. They have Devin Williams at the back end, and the 2022 and 2023 All-Star, who has 28 saves, has been unhittable. No reliever on the planet has been better this season. . . .

But shouldn’t we be talking about the Reds, too, who are right there with the Cubs and Brewers? Nah, they’ll fade. Unless they don’t. . . .

The White Sox’ Tim Anderson gets into it with the Guardians’ Jose Ramirez.

The White Sox’ Tim Anderson gets into it with the Guardians’ Jose Ramirez.

Ron Schwane/Getty Images

What do other major-leaguers think about Sox shortstop Tim Anderson’s recent fight with the Guardians’ Jose Ramirez, which — you might have heard — didn’t go so well for Anderson?

A pair of All-Star outfielders, the Diamondbacks’ Corbin Carroll and the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts, reacted to it the other day.

‘‘You’ve got to protect your boy, right?’’ Carroll told reporters.

And Betts: ‘‘You’ve got to protect your boy.’’

Anderson was punched into the dirt without any Sox players going after Ramirez. Interesting. . . .

DJ Moore and Khalil Herbert did the easy work after those incredible touchdown balls from Justin Fields in the Bears’ preseason opener against the Titans. Right? Aren’t we all in agreement on that? . . .

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh is facing a likely NCAA suspension for recruiting infractions dating to the COVID-19 dead period. Don’t be surprised if this is Harbaugh’s last season at his alma mater — which is rolling like it hasn’t been in decades — because the long-ago Bears quarterback is not one who will just accept being accused of cheating. Harbaugh has yet to acknowledge blame for this, and he’s stubborn enough to leave for the NFL. Any NFL team would be lucky to get him, too.

THIS YOU GOTTA SEE

White Sox at Cubs (7:05 p.m. Tuesday, NBCSCH, Marquee): It likely will be Kyle Hendricks on the bump for the home team, which still has its fingers crossed that he’ll get fully locked in. Or have we seen the last of his routine excellence?

Bears at Colts (6 p.m. Saturday, Fox-32): The stakes get higher in the second of three preseason games, with all eyes on Fields — as always — and some key positional battles. Bear down, hopefuls.

Women’s World Cup final (5 a.m. Sunday, Fox-32, Telemundo): For the first time since 2011, a country other than the United States will win it — and it will be the first championship for whoever is out there celebrating.

THE BOTTOM FIVE

Green Bay Packers Training Camp

Packers QB Jordan Love is looking good out there.

Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Jordan Love: The Packers quarterback is drawing raves this preseason. How dare he?

Velus Jones: There’s fielding a punt cleanly, then there’s whatever you want to call what the Bears’ punt returner does. Maybe try catching one of those suckers sometime?

Ghost runners: The Sox — 4-10 in extra-inning games — are just plain terrible at gettin’ ’em over and gettin’ ’em in. So, yeah, go ahead and add that to the pile of problems.

The Yankees: They’re in last place. It just seems like we should be enjoying that more.

Jerry Reinsdorf: Mr. Silent ought to weigh in on the disaster that is his baseball team. We’re sure it’ll happen any day now.

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