Jon Lester (12-4, 2.93 ERA) and Jimmy Nelson (6-12, 4.07 ERA) start in the third of a four-game series between the Chicago Cubs (75-43) and the Milwaukee Brewers (52-66) at Wrigley Field. The Cubs won the last game 4-1, and Chicago leads the series 2-0. Action begins at 8:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Aug. 17 and can be seen on CSCh and FSWI.
Lester pitched 6.0 innings in his last outing, surrendering two runs, striking out six and walking one in a 4-3 win over the Cardinals. Kris Bryant (.290, 91 Rs, 28 HRs, 73 RBIs, 8 SBs) continued his strong play yesterday, going 2 for 3 with one RBI. Nelson went 5.0 innings, surrendering three runs, striking out seven and walking three in a 7-4 defeat to the Reds in his most recent start. Chris Carter (.219, 56 Rs, 27 HRs, 66 RBIs, 2 SBs) went 1 for 3 yesterday.
This one isn't expected to be close when Chicago, a substantial -265 favorite, takes on Milwaukee. Though the Cubs have had a tough season in terms of their overall money line (-94), they have done fairly well as a favorite with a record of 69-35. Chicago has had an impressive season against division opponents, earning 29-14 and 31-16 records as the favorite and SU, respectively. The Cubs have no trouble scoring as they rank second in the NL in home offense with 4.9 runs per game. Chicago leads the whole NL in walks, earning an average of 4.1 per game. As for the Chicago defense and pitching staff, it's been a struggle for opposing teams to score runs against the Cubs. The 3.4 runs that Chicago's pitchers allow per game makes them the top staff in the NL. The Cubs are the top team in the league at limiting hits and walks to their opponents, recording a WHIP of 1.111 so far this season. Opponents have consistently been struck out by the Cubs, who rank third in the NL in strikeouts per game with 8.8.
In games where it is the underdog, Milwaukee has a 33-48 record and an overall money line of -666. They have played poorly as the underdog with a 13-21 record against fellow NL Central members, and a 4-6 record SU. Offensively, the Brewers have really picked up the pace in the last 10 games. They have exceeded their season average of 4.1 runs per game by averaging 5.3 during that stretch. The Brewers are an excellent base-stealing team with an MLB-best 131 stolen bases.
The Cubs have controlled the season series, 7-3. The Cubs have a 48-32 record against right-handed starting pitchers on the year, which is what they'll be facing when Nelson takes the mound. Lester (LHP) will be on the hill against the Brewers, who have a 22-14 record against left-handed starting pitchers.
Predictions: SU Winner - CHC
The Cubs hold a 32-16 record against the NL Central Division this season, while the Brewers have a 17-27 record against the division.
The Cubs managed to give up four walks in their last game. They'll have to pick it up against the Brewers who are coming in with a 29-29 record against opponents who give up that many walks or more.
It looks like the Cubs have a slight leg up on the Brewers, as the Cubs have won their last two games while the Brewers have lost their last two.
When they outhit their opponents, the Brewers are 43-9. The Cubs have a 63-12 record when outhitting opponents.
Ranking 24th, Milwaukee sits near the bottom of the league in runs, scoring 482 this season. Chicago ranks in the top five at third with 597.
Chicago ranks at the top of the league when it comes to walks with 488 this season. Milwaukee ranks in the top five at second with 450.
The Cubs are 54-22 in games where they hit one or more home runs. The Brewers are 41-32 when they hit at least one homer.