The Cubs are finally leaving St. Louis, ending a five-day stay during which they played merely three games. The defending world champions (it never gets old) dropped the season opener, but responded swiftly by winning the other pair, and beginning their first winning streak of the season.
Their brief road trip now takes them up north to Milwaukee, or, as I like to call it, Wrigleyville North. There they will take on the Brewers, who are struggling out of the gates, having dropped three of four to the Colorado Rockies.
Looking to match his utter dominance from 2016, Kyle Hendricks will be making his season debut on Saturday. Very few people (if not none) think that Hendricks can repeat his performance from last season, but, then again, nobody expected him to be the league leader in ERA last year either.
Brett Anderson is going to be making his regular season Cubs debut Friday night, and everybody knows the importance of first impressions. He struggled in the Spring and has always been vulnerable to injury, but has shown an ability to be a solid starter, and with pitching coach Chris Bosio and Joe Maddon working their magic, Anderson could perform nicely.
Kris Bryant is still trying to get his first hit of the season, and a variety of other starters – Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell, Javier Baez, and Ben Zobrist – all still trying to get going with the bat. Kyle Schwarber, on the other hand, has been a fantastic lead off hitter so far, silencing doubters and destroying baseballs at the same time. And Jason Heyward (yes, I know, THAT Jason Heyward) is hitting .333 after starting every game!
The Brewers did not see the same success as the Cubs did to begin their 2017 journey, as they are sitting at 1-3, just above the basement of the National League Central. Despite the sub-par record, they are actually sitting at a +1 run differential as they lost three tight contests and won one semi-blowout.
Their new offensive additions of Travis Shaw and Eric Thames (former Korean star) appear to be successful ones, with Shaw hitting .417 and Thames hitting .333, each with a homer. Those two combined with the ever-threatening Ryan Braun, and up-and-coming infielder Jonathan Villar create a potentially potent Milwaukee offense. In terms of pitching, however, the Brewers are lacking. Opponents are hitting .278 off of the staff thus far, and only one of their four starters who have already pitched made it past the fifth inning. Don’t be surprised if the Cubs’ offense shows up big time in the next few days.
How to Watch and Listen
Friday, April 7
7:10 PM CST
TV – CSN-Chicago, Radio – 670 AM The Score
Saturday, April 8
6:10 PM CST
TV – CSN-Chicago+, Radio – 670 AM The Score
Sunday, April 9
1:10 PM CST
TV – WGN, Radio – 670 AM The Score
You may be a little surprised to see Arrieta pitching on Sunday instead of Jon Lester, who was initially slated for that game. Arrieta was flipped up a spot in the rotation by Joe Maddon in order to save Lester to oppose the Los Angeles Dodgers in next week’s series (the Dodgers’ inefficiency against lefties is well-known), but will still be going on normal rest due to Wednesday’s off day.
The Cubbies win a tight slug-fest on Friday night on a ninth-inning homer from Kris Bryant. Yeah, he’ll be back soon. The rest of the series is easy cruising and the Cubs break out the brooms for their first sweep of 2017.
Oh, and either Hendricks or Arrieta will throw a perfect game. You heard it here first.