RECORDS: Brewers 57-53 Cubs 57-51
GAMETIMES: Friday-Sunday 1:20
TV: NBCSN Friday and Saturday, WGN Sunday
PAT LISTACH ’92 FOREVER: Brew Crew Ball
Whatever the hell this is continues on the Northside for the weekend, as the Brewers and Cubs will bash their heads together and see if anything comes out this time. Most likely, they and the Cardinals in Oakland will continue to stare at each other, wondering how they got here but knowing for sure there’s no way they can leave. This is where they all belong, fighting over a busted rubber ball while the rest of the baseball world tries to decide if they’re adorable or sad or both.
We’ll start with the Cubs this time, who responded to New Toy Day with Nick Castellanos and Tony Kemp last night by having all the enthusiasm of a biopsy in an 8-0 loss to Jack Flaherty and the Cardinals, completing a pure acid-vomit of a road trip at 3-6. It was the pivotal stretch of the season, and the Cubs comprehensively failed it. But thanks to the forgiving/bumbling nature of everyone else, they left tied for first and they return only a game back, because nothing is ever truly dead (or alive) in the NL Central.
They’ll bank on their home form, which has been great, and where they were last seen going 7-2 out of the break to convince far too many of us that things were swinging up. They won’t be here that often in the month, so they have to make this count if they’re indeed serious about making this season anything other than a dirge and a middle finger to their owner. That is to be determined.
The headline, other than the debuts of the trade acquisitions at Wrigley, is that Cole Hamels will return on Saturday. Hamels had been dominant before going on the IL, maybe the Cubs best starter over the season, and perhaps the sight of a prideful veteran can crack this team out of whatever haze it’s been blasting itself in the face with for the past two months. Hope springs eternal.
The Brewers spent the interim between the two I-94 summits playing three nail-biters with the Oakland A’s. They lost two of them, one in extras and one yesterday when Josh Hader was taken to San Jose by Matt Chapman in the 8th. It was the first time Hader had pitched three days in a row, and now Craig Counsell will be putting that tactic back in the “Bad Idea” box, never to be unearthed again.
They’ll send Zack Davies out there again, with his last start being the weekly Kyle Schwarber-has-figured-it-out game. Gio Gonzalez will also be around to befuddle the Cubs for absolutely no reason other than the gods hate you and you’ll never truly love or be loved because of it. Adrian Houser tossed five good innings in Oakland on Tuesday and will wrap this up on Sunday for the Brew Crew.
We’ve been saying this for two months, but there’s no reason the Cubs can’t use this as a springboard for more. And they probably have to, because the A’s are hardly pushovers and weird things happen in Philadelphia before they get decapitated in Pittsburgh. They have the advantage in every starters matchup here, and you would hope as long as you keep Christian Yelich from levitating and turning various colors, it’s an offense you can keep in check. And the Cubs did last weekend, they just could stop going up to the plate with a flute up their nose. Castellanos definitely gives the lineup more length, so maybe today Baez or Contreras can take one pitch or maybe Rizzo can emerge from his slumber. Fucking anything. It’s been so hard to watch. We’d just like to feel again, thanks.