Friday April 19th 7:10pm
Jeff Samardzija (1-2 2.75 ERA) Vs. Marco Estrada (1-0 4.50 ERA)
Saturday April 20th 6:10pm
Edwin Jackson (0-2 6.06 ERA) Vs. Hiram Burgos (--- ----)
Sunday April 21st 1:10pm
Scott Feldman (0-2 6.00 ERA) Vs. Wily Peralta (0-1 6.19 ERA)
The Cubs and Brewers meet up for the second time this season, this time inside the weather friendly confines of Miller Park. The two teams have had very different experiences since they met just over a week ago. The Brewers are on a 4 game winning streak after dropping two to the Cardinals directly after the Cubs series. The offense is starting to perform better collectively and some pitchers, especially in the bullpen, are starting to pitch better than they were earlier in the year. Meanwhile the Cubs lost 3 of 4 to the very same San Francisco Giants the Brewers just swept, and took 1 of 2 from the Rangers.
In the first game, the Cubs will send one of their only bright spots in this short season to the mound in Jeff Samardzija. He has performed very well in his first season as the Cubs’ number one starter, but has been on the bad end of a couple of losses where he could not get run support.
On the other side, the Brewers are sending out Marco Estrada. Estrada put together two strong starts back to back. The first game could rely solely on who gets more run support. I will take Estrada as the favorite here. Samardzija is 2-3 against Milwaukee but Marco hasn’t lost to the Cubs, so I think that gives him the edge. However there is a first time for everything.
In the second game of the series, the Cubs’ big offseason purchase takes on Hiram Burgos in his first major league start. Edwin Jackson is performing well below expectations, and has an ERA just over 6. Jackson is a starter known to have his share of rocky starts and suddenly turn things around, so you can’t look at those numbers as a sign that this well be an easy win. Jackson is 3-3 against the Brewers with a 3.47 ERA in his career.
Meanwhile, Burgos is making his first major league start. After a strong performance last year in the minors, in this year’s World Baseball Classic and to start the season in AAA he won the favor of management and gets the ball. It’s hard to predict how he’ll perform considering the only major league experience he truly has is the batters he faced in the WBC and in Spring Training. I will go with Jackson here, because he is bound to break out of this slump at some point and although Burgos proved he could handle major league talent in the WBC, I still think he will have some problems in his first start.
The best game of the series for the Brewers to win in my opinion is Wily Peralta against Scott Feldman. Feldman is as bad as his 0-2 6.00 ERA shows. He hasn’t made it through 5 innings and is coming off extra rest since the Cubs decided to skip his last start, and that isn’t always a good thing for pitchers who are well known as creatures of habit. Feldman has one start against Milwaukee and shut them out in 6 innings to get a win but that was 3 years ago.
Peralta takes the hill against Feldman and isn’t as bad as his numbers. He is a very strong pitcher like we saw last year who has had a couple of bad innings. Wily is 0-0 with just a 2.70 ERA against the Cubbies. Even if he has another bad outing he is still better than Feldman. I think Peralta will finally put it together this outing and come away with a quality start after a dew bad starts to begin the 2013 season.
Overall I can see the Brewers sweeping the series, but I believe they will take 2 of 3 from Chicago winning games 1 and 3. Don’t count the Cubs out though. Like most division rivals, no matter how bad one team is, it will still give the other a fight.
Fantasy fans, the player to start in this weekend series: Norichika Aoki. In just 18 games Aoki is .407/.486/.661 against the Cubs with 2 homers and 5 RBI. In a small sample size he blows the Cubs away and plays some of his best ball against the southern rivals.
The player to sit: Rickie Weeks. Not only is Weeks slumping at the plate in general, but he his .22/.323/.353 against the Cubbies with 120 strikeouts in 96 games.