Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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MLB Preview: Milwaukee Brewers (74-57) at Chicago Cubs (69-62)

MILWAUKEE BREWERS NOTES:

BREWERS vs. CUBS
SUMMARY: Are 214-211 all-time, including 5-3 this season…..went 9-10 last season.

at MIL: Are 110-101 all-time, going 99-94 at American Family Field and 11-7 at County Stadium…..are 2-2 this season…..went 5-4 last season.

at CHI: Have gone 104-110 all-time at Wrigley Field, including 3-1 this season…..went 4-6 last season.

We’re Going Streaking!
Milwaukee is on a 9-game winning streak, its longest since winning 11 in a row from 6/22-7/3, 2021…..the Brewers are 17 games over .500 for the first time since finishing the 2021 season with a 95-67 record.

Counting to Ten
A win tonight would give the Brewers their eighth winning streak of at least 10 games in franchise history.
Note: Had a 12-game winning streak from 9/23-10/12, 2018 that included 4 postseason wins.

On the Offensive
The Brewers are averaging 7.11 runs per game during their 9-game winning streak, tops in the National League in that span (since Aug. 18).

Road Warriors
With a win tonight, Milwaukee would match its longest road winning streak of the season at 5 games (7/1-7/16).

Command Central
The Brewers are 25-12 (.679) within the NL Central…..the Braves are the only team in the majors with a better divisional record (27-8, .771).

Unfriendly Confines
Including tonight’s game, the Brewers and Cubs will square off five more times in 2023……Milwaukee currently leads the season series, 5-3.

Don’t Mess With Bill
William Contreras carries an 8-game hitting streak into tonight’s game….. over his last 46 games, Contreras is batting .323 (61-for-189) with 6 HR and 38 RBI and ranks among NL leaders in the following categories in this span (since July 2):

TONIGHT’S GAME: Is game 2 of 3-game road trip (1-0) to Wrigley Field to face the Cubs…..the Brewers are on a season-high 9-game winning streak and are coming off a 5-0 homestand against Minnesota (2-0) and San Diego (3-0)…..following this series and an off day Thursday, the team returns home for a 3-game set against Philadelphia.

IN THE TRAINER’S ROOM: LHP Aaron Ashby (left labrum), RHP Adrian Houser (right elbow), RHP J.C. Mejía (right shoulder), OF Garrett Mitchell (left shoulder), OF Blake Perkins (left oblique), 1B Darin Ruf (right knee), RHP Julio Teheran (right hip), LHP Justin Wilson (left lat) and OF Jesse Winker (back) are on the injured list…..Ashby, Mitchell, Ruf and Wilson are on the 60-day IL.

SERIES-LY SPEAKING: The Brewers are 23-17-2 in series play. Game 1: 23-20, Game 2: 24-18, Game 3: 23-17, Game 4: 4-2 Sweep Wins (9): vs. NYM (3g, 4/3-4/5), at SEA (3g, 4/17-4/19), vs. KC (3g, 5/12-5/14), vs. PIT (3g, 6/16-6/18), at CIN (3g, 7/14-7/16), at CWS (3g, 8/11-8/13), at TEX (3g, 8/18-8/20), vs. MIN (2g, 8/22-8/23), vs. SD (3g, 8/25-8/27) Sweep Losses (5): at COL (3g, 5/2-5/4), vs. OAK (3g, 6/9-6/11), at MIN (2g, 6/13-6/14), at ATL (3g, 7/28-7/30), at LAD (3g, 8/15-8/17)

AT HOME: The Brewers are 38-27 at home, going 12-7-2 in series play…..went 46-35 at home last season, going 15-8-4 in series play…..the team is currently on a season-high 6-game home winning streak, its longest since winning 7 straight from 6/25-7/8, 2021.

ON THE ROAD: The Brewers are 36-30 on the road, going 11-10-0 in series play…..went 40-41 on the road last season, going 9-12-5 in series play…..the team is currently on a 4-game road winning streak, one shy of its season high set from 7/1-7/16.

LET’S GO TO THE VIDEO TAPE: The Brewers have made 27 replay challenges this season, going 11-16…..their last challenge (lost) came on 8/6 vs. Pittsburgh as an out
call at third base (William Contreras) stood.

TONIGHT’S STARTER: #39 – RHP CORBIN BURNES (26gs, 9-6, 3.65)
BURNES AT A GLANCE: Corbin Burnes, 28, will be making his 27th start of the season and second against the Cubs…..Burnes last started last Wednesday vs. Minnesota and received no decision in the Brewers’ 8-7, 10-inning win (6ip, 8h, 6r, 6er, 1bb, 5k, 3hr, 99 pitches)…..it was his 100th Major League start…..the team is 15-11 in his starts…..he has 17 quality starts…..opponents are batting .199 (114-for-573, 19hr)…..he was named NL Pitcher of the Month for July (6gs, 4-1, 1.85era)…..Burnes was selected in the fourth round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft out of St. Mary’s (CA) College…..he is under club control through 2024.
TRIFECTA!: Burnes is the fifth player in franchise history to make three straight All-Star Games, joining Ryan Braun (5), Josh Hader (4), Dan Plesac (3) and Don Money (3).

CY BURNES: Burnes won the 2021 National League Cy Young Award after going 11-5 with a Major League-best 2.43 ERA in 28 starts…..he became the third pitcher in franchise history to win a Cy Young Award, joining Rollie Fingers (1981) and Pete Vuckovich (1982)…..he became the first pitcher in franchise history to lead his league in ERA.

CAREER: Is 44-25 with a 3.31 ERA in 161 games/100 starts (673.2ip, 248er)…..is in his sixth Major League season, all with the Brewers (2018-23)…..is 36-22 with a 3.12 ERA as a starter (591.2ip, 205er) and 8-3 with a 4.72 ERA in relief (82ip, 43er)…..Burnes is a three-time All-Star (2021-23) and was a 2021 All-MLB First Team selection.

CAREER AT AMERICAN FAMILY FIELD: Is 21-15 with a 3.65 ERA in 78 games/51 starts (343ip, 139er)…..is 4-3 with a 4.35 ERA in 12 starts this season (70.1ip, 34er).

CAREER ON THE ROAD: Is 23-10 with a 2.97 ERA in 83 games/49 starts (330.2ip, 109er)…..is 5-3 with a 3.08 ERA in 14 starts this season (87.2ip, 30er).

CAREER vs. CUBS: Is 2-3 with a 3.48 ERA in 15 games/9 starts (62ip, 24er)…..he took a 4-0 loss on Opening Day at Wrigley Field (5ip, 4h, 4r, 4er, 3bb, 3k, 1hbp)…..is 1-1 with a 3.41 ERA in 9 career games/4 starts at Wrigley Field (29ip, 11er).

CHICAGO CUBS NOTES:

Cubs vs. Brewers
The Cubs and Brewers play four series totaling 13 games … the clubs met in Chicago on Opening Weekend, March 30-April 2, with Milwaukee taking two of three games, and split the fourgame series in Milwaukee July 3-6 … the Cubs look for their second-straight season victory after losing in 2019 (9- 10) and 2021 (4-15) with a tie (5-5) in 2020.

TAKE TWO: The Chicago Cubs tonight play the second of three games against the division-leading Brewers … last night the Cubs dropped game one of the series 6-2 ..
all of Chicago’s offense came via the long ball: Ian Happ (16) got the Cubs on the board with a solo home run in the first inning and Patrick Wisdom followed with a solo blast of his own in the fifth inning for his team-leading 21st homer of the season. Chicago is 10-1-1 in its last 12 series dating to July 17. The Cubs are 13-8 in their last 21 games and 27-12 in their last 39 games since July 18 … following play on July 20, the Cubs sat 7.0-games out of a wildcard spot and 8.5-games back of the division lead … the club enters today in the second wild card spot (0.5-game ahead of Arizona) and 5.0-games back of division-leading Milwaukee. The Cubs are in a stretch of 11 games (2-3) against division rivals that started on Aug. 24 at Pittsburgh and concludes with four games at Cincinnati Sept. 1-3, including a double-header on Sept. 1st.

STRONG AS STEELE: Justin Steele is set to make his 25th start of the season tonight, and is looking for his 15th win … his five-straight wins (seven starts) are one shy of his career-high (6 – April 8-May 10, 2023) … Steele aims to become the first Cub to record 15 wins in his first 25 games of a season since Jake Arrieta did so in 2016 (15 wins in 24 games).

DIVISION FOES: Chicago has played 40 games this season against N.L. Central teams, going 24-16 in those matchups … the Cubs .600 winning percentage against the division rivals is tied for the highest against any division (also, AL East, 9-6) … what’s more, when comparing stats against each division, the Cubs hitters’ .277 batting average, .353 OBP, .457 slugging percentage and 6.3 runs per game against the N.L. Central are all top marks.

TWO-OUT TALLIES: The Cubs have scored 22 runs with two outs in nine games since August 20, good for second-most in the N.L. (trailing Milwaukee, 25) and tied for fifth-most in the majors in that span – Minnesota leads with 31 two-out runs … Chicago’s 17 strikeouts with two outs in that same stretch are tied for the fewest in the N.L., third-fewest in baseball, while its .481 slugging percentage ranks third, its .269 average ranks fifth and its .776 OPS is seventh in the Senior Circuit. On the season, the Cubs’ 256 two-out tallies are sixth-most in the majors and second-most in the N.L. (the Dodgers lead both with 298).

PLATE DISCIPLINE: In March/April, Cubs batters had a 21.4 % strikeout rate which climbed to 26.4% in May … since then, the club’s strikeout rate has fallen each month to a season-low 20.5% in August (June – 23.8%, July 22.5%) … the average strikeout rate across the league this month is 22.9%, 2.4 points higher than the Cubs’.

AUGUST IS HOT, SEIYA IS HOTTER: Seiya Suzuki in the month of August is batting .347 (25-for-72) with six doubles, two triples, five home runs, 13 RBI, a .385 OBP and a 1.079 OPS, including a career-high 10-game hitting streak (August 18-27) and hits in 15 of his last 17 games … his average, slugging percentage (.694) and OPS are all his highest of any month this season, and his OBP is second-best (behind his .417 OBP in May) … he ranks third in slugging percentage, fourth in OPS, fifth in average and 10th in OBP among N.L. hitters since August 1.

BACK WITH A BANG: Keegan Thompson Sunday pitched in his first game with the Cubs since May 27, striking out five batters and allowing one hit in 2.0 innings of work … he became the first Cubs reliever since September 17 of last season (Adbert Alzolay) to record five or more strikeouts in 2.0 innings or fewer, and is the first to do so without walking a batter since he achieved the feat May 15, 2021. He is one of 10 relief pitchers in the N.L. this season to tally five-plus strikeouts
in 2.0 innings or fewer.

RING THE BELL-INGER: Cody Bellinger has driven in 16 runs in his last 10 games dating to August 19, and 29 RBI since August 1 … with 53 RBI in 50 games from July 1-August 27, Bellinger became the first Cub with at least 50 RBI in a 50-game span since Derrek Lee in 2009 … only seven Cubs have accomplished the feat in the last 50 years (since 1974): Bellinger, Lee, Aramis Ramírez (2005), Sammy Sosa (1995, 98-03), Henry Rodríguez (1999), Andre Dawson (1987) and Dave Kingman (1979). His 53 RBI since July 1 are the most in the major leauges. This season, Bellinger’s .320 average is fifth in the majors and his .910 OPS and .543 slugging percentage rank seventh. Bellinger, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Freddie Freeman are the only major leaguers to have at least a .320 average, 20 home runs and 17 stolen bases this season.

SLAM THE DOOR: Adbert Alzolay has converted his last 17 save chances since July 5, the most in the majors during that stretch … the 17-straight converted save opportunities is the longest active streak in the N.L. and third-longest streak in the majors, trailing Toronto’s Jordan Romano (21) and Boston’s Kenley Jansen (20). Ed Hartig notes that Alzolay’s 17-straight converted save opportunities are the most by a Cub since Wade Davis recorded a club-record 32 consecutive save opportunities from April 4-Sept. 19, 2017. Alzolay’s 21 saves on the season are tied for the eighth-most in the N.L.

GIVE THEM A 10: The Cubs Sunday scored 10 runs for the second-straight game … the team’s 20 such games on the season rank first in the National League and second in the majors, behind Texas (23).

Starting Pitcher – #35 LHP Justin Steele (14-3, 2.80)
Last Time Out
Justin received a no-decision Aug. 24 in Pittsburgh … made his 14th start of at least 6.0 IP while allowing two earned runs or fewer this season … has struck out 33 batters in his last five starts since Aug. 1 … has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 13-straight starts since May 31 (2.84 ERA) … made his 17th quality start of the season, tied for the second-most in the N.L.

Date Opp. Result IP H R ER BB SO PC-S Left
8/24 @PIT ND, 5-4 6.0 6 3 2 2 6 100-66 3-3
2023 Splits and Season Notes
W-L ERA G GS IP H R ER BB SO
Home 10-2 2.65 14 14 78.0 78 32 23 18 73
Road 4-1 3.00 10 10 60.0 54 23 20 12 60
AVG vs. LHB: .252 (27-for-107) / AVG vs. RHB: .248 (105-for-423)

Justin is scheduled to make his 25th start of the 2023 season today, his 15th at Wrigley Field … has posted a 2.42 ERA (47 ER/174.2 IP) since July 22, 2022, the lowest ERA in the majors among qualified starting pitchers during the run … tonight, aims to become the first Cub to record 15 wins in his first 25 starts of a season since Jake Arrieta did so in 2016 … his 2.65 ERA at Wrigley Field this season is the fourth-lowest home ERA in the N.L. (min. 10 GS) … has allowed three runs or fewer in 22 of his 28 home starts since the beginning of 2022 … has not suffered a loss in seven-straight starts dating to July 16 … his 14 starts of 6.0-plus IP while allowing two or fewer earned runs are tied for the fourth-most in the N.L. … his 14 wins are tied for the second-most in the majors, while his 2.80 ERA (41 ER/132.0 IP) is the second-lowest in the majors among qualified starters. July 21 vs. St. Louis, recorded his 10th win of the season, the first time in his career that he has reached double-digit wins. Earned his first career All-Star nod and pitched a scoreless fifth inning, allowing one hit with one strikeout in the N.L.’s 3-2 victory. Started the Cubs’ first game in London, June 24 vs. St. Louis, earning the win (1 ER/6.0 IP). Posted a 53.0-inning stretch without allowing a home run from April 14-June 17, which was the longest active streak in the majors. Left his start May 31 vs. Tampa Bay after 3.0 perfect innings with left forearm tightness … was placed on the injured list June 3 (retroactive to June 1) and was activated June 17. Had a 17-start streak of allowing three earned runs or fewer at Wrigley Field from April 24, 2022-May 10, 2023 … pitched to a 2.20 ERA (23 ER/94.0 IP) during the run … his 2.20 home ERA during the stretch was the third-lowest in the N.L. Went eight starts before suffering his first loss of the season May 16 in Houston … allowed a season-high five runs in the outing … at the time of his first loss, was the only pitcher in the N.L. with at least six wins and zero losses. Allowed two or fewer earned runs in 14-straight starts from July 22, 2022-May 5, 2023, tied for the second-longest stretch in Cubs franchise history (since 1901), behind Jack Taylor’s streak of 15 games June 13-Aug. 14, 1902 (tied with Jake Arrieta, 14 G, 7/30/15-4/4/16). Went 1-1 with a 2.63 ERA (4 ER/13.2 IP) with 13 strikeouts in four Cactus League starts in 2023 … started and tossed the first 2.0 innings of the Cubs combined no-hitter, March 3 at San Diego.

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