Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers MLB Picks

Monday, September 3rd, 2018

By Steven Wisner
MLB Cubs vs. Brewers

The Chicago Cubs sit atop the NL Central standings in the MLB, but the Milwaukee Brewers are within striking distance, but they need the win in the series finale on Wednesday night. With the calander already flipping over to September, time is running out for the Brew Crew, they need to start chipping away at the lead.

They’ll have their ace, Jhoulys Chacin, on the mound on Wednesday, but will have to contend with Jose Quintana of the Cubs who has had the Brewers’ number this year.

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WGN Wednesday Night Baseball – Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers

Date and Time: Wednesday, September 5, 2018, at 8:10 p.m. ET

Location: Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Cubs vs. Brewers 2018 MLB TV Coverage: WGN

Probable Pitchers

Quintana will go to the mound with a 2-1 record and a 2.63 ERA against Brewers in four starts all while holding them to a .181 average. The southpaw is also coming off six strong innings against the Phillies in his last start, allowing only a single run.

Overall, the lefty is 11-9 with a 4.21 ERA and 4.59 FIP to go along with a 1.355 WHIP. He’s given up 20 home runs which could be an issue against a powerful Brewer lineup. He’s also got a 3.9 walk per nine inning ratio, leading to a high number of base runners.

While his numbers against the Brewers have been good this year, his overall numbers have Quintana has a league-average pitcher based on ERA+ that’s prone to a high volume of base runners and while he can get the occasional strikeout, he’s not an overpowering arm either. He relies on contact and the defense behind him to make plays.

Of course, the same can be said about Chacin though the veteran right-hander has had a better season than Quintana. He’s 14-5 with a 3.53 ERA and 1.206 WHIP. His ERA+ is 117.

The main difference in the numbers between Chacin and Quintana is a lower BABIP, slightly better walk rate and a much lower home run rate. He’s allowed just 14 dingers in 29 starts.

More recently, Chacin comes into play having pitched remarkably well in his last five starts. Following a beat down at the hands of the Dodgers, the righty has gone 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA in those five outings.

Baseball Sports Betting

Midseason Additions

Both the Cubs and Brewers have made several midseason additions with Chicago adding Cole Hamels and Daniel Murphy and the Brewers picking up Mike Moustakas, Joakim Soria and Jonathan Schoop in July. They then added Curtis Granderson, Xavier Cedeno and Gio Gonzalez on the final day of August.

For Chicago, Hamels and Murphy have already had big impacts. Hamels has looked like he did in his 20s since going to the Cubs. He’s made six starts and is 4-0 with a 0.69 ERA and 1.000 WHIP. He’s got a 2.28 FIP and has yet to give up a home run. He’s stabilized the rotation after Yu Darvish went down. He doesn’t pitch on Wednesday, but he has helped take pressure off the pen which will help in this game.

Murphy could, however, have a more direct impact. The Cubs’ offense is deep, and Murphy makes it that much deeper. The second baseman almost single-handedly knocked Chicago out of the postseason in 2015, now he’s making it up. He’s only played in 10 games and had 45 at bats, but he’s hitting .311 with two home runs and five RBIs.

On the Brewers’ side, they’ve made more additions, but they haven’t all been as successful. Schoop is starting to hit better but was awful early on. He’s still only hitting .224 though he does now have three bombs. Meanwhile, Moustakas has been better. He’s already got five homers and 19 RBIs while providing a .800 OPS. The problem is, Moustakas is a third baseman like Travis Shaw. Shaw’s playing some second and Schoop is playing some short, but Craig Counsel is constantly moving players around to make this work. Of course, that’s something Maddon’s done on the other side of this matchup for years.

The new additions have yet to make much impact but haven’t had the chance either. Soria has some injuries, but he and Cedeno add a bit more depth to a bullpen that’s been good but overworked. Gonzalez doesn’t impact this game, but he’s a needed arm while Curtis Granderson is more of a spare part. He’s a great clubhouse guy, too, but it’s hard to find him starting at bats with Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich, Ryan Braun, Eric Thames, Keon Broxton and Domingo Santana on the team. Still he’s a good pinch hitter options and depth is never a bad thing.

Return of Bryant and Russell

While the addition of Murphy helped protect Chicago against the injuries to Kris Bryant and Addison Russell, both are back and healthy, giving Joe Maddon plenty of options to move players around.

Javier Baez has been the team MVP this year with a .903 OPS, 30 bombs, and 100 RBIs. He’s been the primary second baseman, but with Murphy, he’s slide over to third and short to cover for Bryant and Russell. He could play anywhere on the infield. The Cubs just need his bat in the order. Bryant should get most the starts at 3B, but he can—and has—played some in the outfield.

Of course, the outfield is stacked, too. Jason Heyward is on the DL which opens a spot, but Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora Jr., Ian Happ, and Ben Zobrist are all options, too.

It’s good to be deep and the Cubs certainly are on offense, particularly now that David Bote can stay up along with Tommy La Stella thanks to the expanded rosters in September.

Injuries, however, are still plaguing the pitching staff. Brandon Morrow remains sidelined and while the Cubs’ bullpen still has Steve Cishek, Pedro Strop, Justin Wilson, Carl Edwards Jr., and even Jesse Chavez as quality late inning arms, the Cubbies need Morrow back before they have as much pitching depth—at least in relief—as they have on the offensive side.

Searching for Relief

The additions of Cedeno and Soria go a long way to take pressure off other arms in the pen. Through the team’s strong first half, they relied on their bullpen given their rotations’ issues. The pen, as a result, was overworked.

Over the last month, we’ve seen some digression because of that overwork. Corey Knebel has been bad. He’s lost the closer role and has struggled even in low pressure situations. He’s 0-2, giving up nine runs in 7.1 innings over the last 30 days and isn’t on the roster currently.

Josh Hader took over some save chances and is 4-for-4 there, but he’s allowed seven runs in 13.1 innings and struck out 14. That’s a lower strikeout rate and much higher ERA than he’s accustom to producing. Soria also hasn’t been that great since joining the team.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Jeffress has been good, Dan Jennings is doing his job and Corbin Burnes has held his own, but while still good and deeper now than before, this bullpen is no longer a clear advantage for Milwaukee over other teams as it was earlier in the year.

Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers Free Picks

Overall, it’s a good pitching matchup between two underrated arms. Both Quintana and Chacin have been throwing well and both should continue to do so.

Look for this game to come down to the bullpens with both the Cubs and Brewers having more questions there than earlier in the year. The Brewers’ pen is still quite deep and while the Cubs have options, look for the Brewers’ lineup to get through for a run to make the difference in this game.

This should be a lower scoring game and it should be a close one, too. Both teams have deep offenses now and it may come down to the pinch-hitting decisions late that give one team the edge. In this one, look for the hometown team to outlast the Cubs and get a crucial win in what is essentially a must win game for the Brewers. There’s a bit less on the line for Chicago and that could be the difference as Counsell will have to do all he can to win while Maddon can afford to take a bigger picture view of the final month of the season.

Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers Pick: Take the hometown Brewers to get the win in this series finale in a very close game.

Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers Score Prediction: Brewers 4, Cubs 3

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