Friday: Jimmy Nelson (2016 statistics: 4.62 ERA, 5.64 DRA, 7.0 K/9) v. Brett Anderson (With LAD: 11.91 ERA, 6.48 DRA, 4.0 K/9)
Brewers fans who want to see the home team get over on the World Series champions would be best served scooping up tickets to Friday night’s tilt (Note: LOL there are no tickets available the Cubs sold this out months ago). Brett Anderson is the James Ellsworth of the Chicago Cubs pitching staff: he’s terrible, everyone knows he doesn’t belong here, he’s making everything worse, and the only reasons we’re tolerating it is because of his Twitter account and because folks with a lot of money are telling us we have to. Anderson is only 29, but he’s been beset by injuries that have limited him to only two 20+ start seasons since his 2009 debut and he’s four years removed from his last effective campaign. If it sounds like I’m cyber bullying Anderson, I am, but I also recognize that he’d immediately become the ace of the current Brewers staff were he to defect.
Nelson is making his first start of the year, and he’ll begin his attempt to re-ignite his career after a massively disappointing 2016 season. After flashing hints that he may become the front-of-the-rotation starter Brewers fans hoped he might be in 2015, Nelson bumbled his way though a season that saw him record career highs in innings pitched (good) and ERA (h*ck).
Saturday: Tommy Milone (With MIN: 5.71 ERA, 6.26 DRA, 6.4 K/9) v. Kyle Hendricks (2.13 ERA, 3.01 DRA, 8.1 K/9)
Lest it be at all unclear to anyone that these two teams are simply competing at different levels right now, we have this match-up of number five starters. Milone is technically in the Brewers’ ace spot, stepping in for the injured Junior Guerra, who left his Opening Day start after just three innings and will be absent for some time (folks, the thing where teams have “too many starting pitchers” always works itself out). He is in practice, however, Milwaukee’s fifth starter, and he’ll match up with the Cubs No. 5 guy, Hendricks, because Chicago had an off day Wednesday. Milwaukee’s version of a number five starter is Milone, a 30-year-old who was outrighted by the Twins after pushing six with his ERA in 2016. The Cubs’ version is the 2016 National League ERA king. There are two types of people in this world, Kyle.
Sunday: Zach Davies (3.97 ERA, 3.91 DRA, 7.4 K/9) v. Jake Arrieta (3.10 ERA, 3.38 DRA, 8.7 K/9)
Oh, what the hell, man.
2017: First meeting
All-Time: 152-159 (80-76 in Milwaukee)
Are the Cubs good?
Well, they’re pretty good. Thanks to the Cleveland Indians blowing a 3-1 lead in the World Series, Chicago are the defending World Series Champions. They have a 24-year-old catcher who hit .282/.357/.488 with a 126 wRC+ and compiled 2.2 fWAR in just 76 games. He bats seventh. Hector Rondon, who has 77 saves and a 2.45 ERA over the past three years, is a middle reliever without a defined role. They have the reigning National League MVP, and he might not even be the best hitter on the team.
The regular season is a formality in Chicago this season. They are the best team in baseball. They might be the best team of the 21st century. And the whole ding dang team is in their early 20s.
Who is the most handsome Cubs player?
There may be series during this season when this question is difficult to answer. This is not one of those times.
Sparkle Jesus, sometimes known by his nickname Kris Bryant, has an extremely high Handsomeness Above Replacement (HAR) of 10.3, leading the league in the category for the last two seasons. It is for sure not fair that Bryant gets to be extremely handsome and extremely good at baseball. I have called the police to report him so many times that they have blocked my number.
Hitters to watch:
Bryant, 3B: Bryant’s overwhelming handsomeness has not helped him do base hits this season, as he remains hitless in 14 appearances. The most likely reason for this is that he is a fluke, and it’s not likely that he’ll ever get another base hit. Certainly he’s no Tim Tebow, who homered in his first official at bat on Thursday.
Jesus Aguilar, 1B: Speaking of flukes, Aguilar is trying to prove that his incredible Spring Training run wasn’t one, and he’s doing a bang-up job of it so far. He went 5-for-7 with a double and a walk in the Brewers opening series against Colorado, and is forcing Craig Counsell to find a way to get his bat into games. He started at first on Thursday, pushing Eric Thames, the KBO sensation who was Milwaukee’s big free agent splash, to left field. Luckily the National League makes pitchers hit, because having Aguilar in the lineup every day would definitely be worse than watching Zach Davies bunt.
If the Cubs were a Taylor Swift GIF, which one would they be?
Should you put ketchup on hot dogs?
Yes, ketchup is a delicious way to spruce up this type of sandwich.
Who does the Good Tweets?
There are several folks who do the Good Tweets on behalf of the Cubs, including @Cubs, which is the best official team Twitter dot com account in sports. If you want to see someone meltdown every time a Brewers bench bat gets a hit, follow @RandallJSanders. If you want to see good content, or if you want to be recruited for the S O C I A L I S T R E V O L U T I O N, follow @BeersNTrumpets. If you want to see smart, reasoned takes regarding the World Champions, use a different website.
Clark the Cub doesn’t wear any pants, Travis.
None of the mascots wear pants. NONE OF THE MASCOTS ARE WEARING ANY PANTS. Where are these pants-wearing mascots you all crave? SHOW YOURSELVES.
Milwaukee Broadcast Information:
Friday: 7:10 pm on FS Wisconsin and 620 WTMJ
Saturday: 6:10 pm on MLB Network/FS Wisconsin and 620 WTMJ
Sunday: 1:10 pm on FS Wisconsin/Telemundo and 620 WTMJ
Let’s talk to a Cubs fan!
My friend Stephen, who sucks at fantasy football, had some things to say about his favorite baseball team. He’s the former host of a sports talk radio program, so you know his opinions are terrible garbage. He can be found at @Stephen_Roto on Twitter, and this is what he had to say:
Do you know how it feels not having to say “There’s always next year”? Weird. It feels weird.
There’s a different feeling around Chicago Cubs baseball this season for a lot of fans out there, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. It’s more than knowing the Chicago Cubs are the reigning World Series Champions (still gives me all the feels), but now there’s no more torment from the years of losing, the nagging from fellow baseball brethren about the ex-Lovable Losers and most importantly – no more damn goat.
So what now? Now I feel like the game can be enjoyed more without all that extra baggage.The cast, sans Dexter Fowler and Aroldis Champan (good riddance to the latter), return to the Friendly Confines as the Vegas favorites to win it all. Yet I don’t feel 100% comfortable in thinking they can pull off back-to-back titles just yet. After an enjoyable trip to St. Louis taking two of three from those classy Redbirds and their sticky catcher’s gear, I find myself thinking:
- This bullpen worries the living hell out of me. Past what we’ve seen from C.J. Edwards and a 42-year old Koji Uehara, it hasn’t been the prettiest Spring Training and start to the season. We all knew the bullpen was the weakness of this team last year – my money is on a repeat of that.
- Speaking of pitching, I’m silently hoping for a Brett Anderson injury (we all know it’s coming). By season’s end, I believe Eddie Butler is going to be a huge contributor on this team and his opportunity is going to come in the form of an Anderson injury. Butler feels like “Jake Arrieta: The Sequel” and I can’t wait to see what happens.
- I know it has only been three games, but this lineup is extremely deep. If errors are committed, chances are the Cubs will make teams pay for their mistakes. I love looking at a lineup and saying, “I don’t feel worried about any of these guys batting”. The jury is still out on you, Jon Jay (Editor’s note: No it is not. Screw Jon Jay).
- Lastly (and this is homerism speaking), the Cubs have not gotten credit for how to handle the giant defensive liability in left field known as Kyle Schwarber. I love the man. I love them all. But seriously, the defensive prowess they have surrounded him with has limited the amount of ground he must cover immensely. Albert Almora is going to be a Cub for a very long time and he will be a multi-Gold Glove winner in his career. Mark it down. Add him to Addison Russell and even Kris Bryant, and the Cubs are placing the settings on MLB The Show on ‘Rookie’ and letting him do his thing with the bat…which is so much fun to watch.
I still don’t know what to think about this season knowing all the typical storylines are no longer applicable, but boy does it feel good to know there’s a World Series Championship banner being raised Monday night on Chicago’s north side.Oh, and the Cubs take 2 out of 3 this weekend.
Can I hang out with Travis at the baseball game?
You sure can, friend! I’ll be in the lots and grillin’ brats for a couple of hours before Saturday’s game with my pal Brett, who is a dirty, stinking, rotten Cubs fan. Unfortunately, you will need to pay approximately six bajillion dollars to acquire tickets, and you’re just gonna get all up in your own feelings because Cubs fans will make the game unbearable. Sorry.