The Cubs (38-44) have hit the skids again after their trip to London and went 1-5 against the Phillies and Guardians at Wrigley Field this week. After staying focused on details and doing all the little things right during their hot stretch, the North Siders suddenly are sloppy and mistake-prone. They have given themselves no margin for error ahead of the critical holiday series with the Brewers starting Monday.
After falling to .500 in mid-June, Milwaukee (45-39) has gone 11-5 to move back into a tie for first place with Cincinnati in the National League Central. The pitching staff has had to adjust to an underperforming ace in Corbin Burnes and an injured Brandon Woodruff. Several veterans, including Wade Miley and Julio Teheran, have stabilized the rotation and pitched well recently.
The bullpen is not the lights-out unit it has been the past few seasons after the trade of closer Josh Hader. Devin Williams has been excellent in closing out games, but the setup men have struggled at times. It all adds up to a team ERA of 4.12, just 20th best in baseball.
The Brewers’ offense in 2023 has been dreadful for most of the season. The team is putting up an OPS of .679, which is only higher than the far-from-explosive lineups of the Tigers, Royals, and Athletics. They have been better lately, averaging around five runs a game over their last 10. One bright spot at Wrigley North is the bounce-back year for former MVP Christian Yelich, who has an .808 OPS to lead manager Craig Counsell‘s squad.
Milwaukee is hardly a juggernaut and the Cubs could certainly compete with them, but they have to play much better than they have been. To have a realistic chance to stay in the race, they likely have to win this series. Losing or, even worse, getting swept this week probably means they will be sellers at the trade deadline again. Here’s hoping they can generate some fireworks over the Fourth.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Monday, July 3 at 1:10pm CT on MLB Network (out of market only) and Marquee.
- Tuesday, July 4 at 3:10pm CT on Marquee.
- Wednesday, July 5 at 7:10pm CT on Marquee.
- Thursday, July 6 at 1:10pm CT on MLB Network (out of market only) and Marquee.
What to Watch For
- Seiya Suzuki is absolutely ice cold right now and is 0-for-20 in his last five games.
- Christopher Morel played third base for the first time this season Sunday and hit two homers against Cleveland.
- Steele had another dominant performance on Friday and was named to the All-Star team Sunday along with Stroman and Dansby Swanson.