The Target: Cubs at Brewers
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With neither Jake Arrieta nor Jon Lester taking the mound in this three-game set, it’s hardly a given that the Cubs will go into Milwaukee and dominate.
Then again, the Cubs are 22-3 in their last 25 road games dating to last September. And they’ve simply owned the Brewers, going two-for-two against them at Wrigley Field in April after winning 14 of 19 games in the series in 2015. The Cubs have won their last seven games at Miller Park.
No doubt, the stands will be filled with Cubs fans for all three of these home-away-from-home contests.
Tuesday: Kyle Hendricks (2-2, 3.03) vs. Chase Anderson (1-5, 6.11), 7:10 p.m., CSN.
Wednesday: John Lackey (4-2, 3.54) vs. Jimmy Nelson (4-3, 3.51), 7:10 p.m., WGN.
Thursday: Jason Hammel (5-0, 1.77) vs. Junior Guerra (2-0, 4.00), 12:40 p.m., CSN.
Speaking of owning the Brewers, Hendricks is 4-1 with a 1.49 ERA in his career against them. If he doesn’t make it 5-1 pitching against Anderson — ERA in his last five starts: 8.88 — it’ll be a real disappointment.
Brewers pitchers have 10 quality starts on the season, with Nelson accounting for half of them. Like Anderson, the hard-throwing Guerra will be facing the Cubs for the first time.
Probably the best thing the Brewers (16-22 overall; 10-11 at home) have going for them right now is their bullpen. Over the last 10 games, the team’s relievers have a 1.59 ERA and have held opponents to a .197 batting average. Blaine Boyer, Michael Blazek and closer Jeremy Jeffress have been very good.
Outfielder Ryan Braun has missed the last couple of games with soreness in his right wrist, though the Cubs are expected see plenty of him. Braun is hitting a robust .367 with seven homers and 27 RBIs. First baseman Chris Carter has a pair of multi-homer games in May but has been slumping of late.
On: Jason Heyward. It has been a nice last seven games for him — 10 hits, five runs scored, five walks, .455 on-base percentage. Who cares about homers if you’re getting all that other good stuff?
Off: Runs per game. The Cubs have fallen under the 6.0 mark, now averaging “only” 5.94 scored. That’s still good enough for No. 1 in the National League. The Red Sox (6.03) have overtaken them, though.
On: Ben Zobrist. Rizzo’s MLB-high 26-game on-base streak ended on Sunday, but Ben Zobrist — who batted .500, scored 12 runs and knocked in 12 over the just-completed 10-game homestand — has reached base safely in his last 22 starts. Addison Russell has done so in 18 straight games.
Off: Miguel Montero. It’s nice to have him back behind the plate, but the Cubs would love to see him start hitting the ball. Montero is at .192 for the season.
On: Dexter Fowler. If you’ve been waiting for him to cool off, you’re still waiting. Fowler has reached base at least three times in 12 games, tied for most in the majors with Nationals walk machine Bryce Harper.
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