Series Preview: Chicago Cubs (47-73) at Milwaukee Brewers (54-66)

Somehow I thought the Brewers were closer to .500 than this. By Pythag they should be a 59-61 team. The last time they were at .500 was back in April, though they spent much of the next three months hovering around four games below the that mark before reeling off a seven game losing streak just before the trading deadline. I'm sure their GM appreciated that when it came time to unload Zack Greinke, who has quietly been having almost as terrible a debut as Ryan Dempster with the Rangers. The Brewers brought back prospects SS Jean Segura, RHP John Hellweg, and RHP Ariel Pena from LAAoLAoDoGM, all of whom sound like high risk high reward types, relative to regular prospect risk at least. Segura, Hellweg, and Pena were the 2, 3, and 10 prospects in the org on BPro, and 2, 4, and 9 at BA. Segura was 55th overall in BA's preseason list, so not too shabby of a haul for a rental like Greinke.

We could keep talking prospects, but I guess these teams have to play some baseball. Former Cub Aramis Ramirez leads the league in extra base hits, which stings considering the shitshow the Cubs have trotted out in the hot corner this year. Not re-signing him still was the right move, however. He, Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, and Jonathan Lucroy have led the offense this year. Noticeably missing from that list (aside from Prince Fielder) is Rickie Weeks, who has had a tough time at the plate this year with a .219 AVG despite a robust .295 BABIP. Despite his struggles hitting the ball he still has a 11.8% walk rate and a .326 OBP. He's been a butcher in the field this year according to UZR, and DRS likes him even less (-26 runs!). Aside from Greinke's departed numbers, the Brewers rotation has put up serviceable to good numbers from Gallardo, Marcum, and Estrada, but they've also received 14 starts with 2.62 FIP from some guy named Mike Fiers. You can tell I don't play fantasy baseball anymore because I have no idea who this is (laughing). I remember the Brewers having jack for pitching in their system, but he's been pitching for them since 09 and put up a sub-4.0 FIP in every level that he played in the minors, so I guess he slipped through the cracks. It could just be that he's a little older (just turned 26), He's pegged as a 3.8 or so pitcher by ZiPS.

Pitching Matchups

Monday: Justin Germano, RHP (3.19, 3.38, 4.17, 4.41) vs Mark Rogers, RHP (4.94, 3.60, 3.14, 5.79), 7:10 PM CT

Rogers looks like the Brewers answer to Brooks Raley. Too bad he's not starting against Rusin tomorrow. He has managed to rack up 24 strikeouts in his first four starts, but this is a guy who put up a 5+ FIP in AAA this year.

Germano is no great shakes, but I've been guilty of not giving him enough credit. He gets groundballs and throws strikes, and hopefully can eat some innings so this season ends faster. The 2012 Cubs everyone!

Tuesday: Chris Rusin. LHP (5.04, 5.50, 5.08) vs Marco Estrada, RHP (4.52, 4.11, 3.72, 4.25), 7:10 PM CT

Rusin's numbers are his MLE's for ERA and FIP, along with his Oliver projection as ZiPS does not have a projection for him on fangraphs. To say the least, he's not blowing anyone away in the minors this year. He posted a 4.11 FIP in AAA last year, but his strikeout rate dropped and his walk rate shot up this year.

Estrada played the role of a swingman last year for the Brewers, and has become more of a regular in the rotation due to the Narveson injury and Greinke trade this year. He's had bad luck with HRs but hasn't been hurt too badly since he's been stingy with walks. He hasn't gone deep in many of his starts, not surprising given his swingman role.

Wednesday: Travis Wood, LHP (4.83, 5.59, 4.71, 4.45) vs Yovani Gallardo, RHP (3.67, 3.78, 3.62, 3.67), 1:10 PM CT

Wood was knicked around again in his last start, not surprisingly giving up three homers in GAB. He's given up six or more runs in four of his last seven starts.

Gallardo's walk rate has regressed from the stellar 2.56 BB/9 from last year, but he's still the good to great pitcher he's always been. Despite being the Brewers top pitcher for so long, it's tough to remember that he's only had two seasons topping 3 WAR.

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About berselius

How appropriate. You fight like a cow.

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