The Chicago Cubs continue to hold on to the lead in the National League Central but have not played as well of late. Chicago lost to Milwaukee in the opening game of their current series 1-0 on Friday night. With the loss. Chicago's lead in the division was cut to three games over the St Louis Cardinals and four games over the Brewers.
Milwaukee has won two straight with its victory on Friday over Chicago but the Brewers have failed to put together more than two consecutive victories in their last 12 games played and consistency both at the plate and on the mound have been problematic through Milwaukee's first ⅔ of the season and has not allowed the Brewers to move up in the standings.
Cubs need more production at the plateThe Chicago Cubs have been shutout in two of the last three games played. Chicago's team batting average has dropped to 26th in baseball at .226. The Cubs have the 20th worst slugging percentage .402 and have scored the 18th fewest runs at 205. The stats king at the plate for Chicago has been center fielder Ian Happ, who leads the team with a .283 batting average, 12 home runs and 26 RBIs.
The pitching staff is doing its best to keep Chicago at the top of the National League Central and this season has been led by Yu Darvish, who has a team-high 7 wins, the best ERA of all starters at 1.77 and 72 strikeouts which also leads the Cubs. Chicago has the second-best number of quality starts at 23 and 11th best team ERA at 4.17. Opposing hitters are batting just .235 at the plate against Cubs pitching which third-best in baseball. Alec Mills gets the nod on Sunday for Chicago. and the right-hander has a record 4-3 with a 4.74 ERA and 32 strikeouts. The Cubs have lost three of Mills’ last five starts.
Milwaukee has been just average both at the plate and on the moundMilwaukee's pitching has not been anything more than mediocre this season. The Brewers have the 14th best team ERA at 4.50, the 12th best WHIP at 1.27 and the 19th best number of quality starts at 10. Opposing hitters are averaging .234 at the plate against Milwaukee pitching which is the only solid stat the pitching staff has for Milwaukee. Starting pitcher Corbin Burnes has the best ERA at 1.99 and is tied for the team lead in wins with just three. Starting on the mound for Milwaukee on Sunday will be Adrian Houser, who is just 1-4 with a 5.48 ERA and 32 strikeouts
At the plate, Milwaukee has struggled all season. The Brewers are 26th in runs scored with 178, 25th in team batting average at .227, 21st in on-base percentage at .319 and 24th in slugging percentage with .393. The highest batting average of any regular for Milwaukee is Orlando Arcia at just .267. Second baseman Keston Hiura has supplied what little power Milwaukee has produced with 11 home runs and 25 RBIs. Former NL MVP right fielder Christian Yelich is averaging just .208 at the place with nine home runs and 19 RBIs.
- Milwaukee has lost 12 of the last 20
- Chicago has won five of the last seven when labeled the favorite
- The Cubs have won 15 of the last 22 against a starter with a WHIP (Houser 1.45) of higher than 1.30