MIL 4 – CHC 2
The Cubs don’t get a pat on the back for keeping Sunday’s game close. In reality it was a missed opportunity to win back-to-back games for the first time this season, and a failure to win a division series. The head-to-head matchups against the Brewers are critical, as they were last year, when just a single victory separated these two clubs. Keeping games close isn’t good enough. Winning is what counts.
Milwaukee has won 15 of their last 16 regular season series dating to last year.
The Brewers went (51-30) at Miller Park in 2018 (5-5 vs. Cubs). Their .630 home winning percentage led the National League and tied for third best in the majors with Tampa Bay. The Cubs had the second best home winning percentage in the NL (51-31), the last loss coming against Milwaukee in the division tiebreaker.
When the Brewers started (4-17) under manager Ron Roenicke in 2015 he was fired and replaced by Craig Counsell who, at the time, was serving as a special assistant in the Brewers front office. In the following three campaigns, Counsell guided Milwaukee to a year-over-year improvement in the win column. Last season’s club won 96 regular season games and set a new franchise record with 102 victories, if you include the postseason; and Counsell finished as the runner-up in the NL Manager of the Year balloting. Given Bruce Bochy’s announced retirement plans at the end of this season (SFG 2006), Counsell (2015) and Joe Maddon (2015) will be tied as two of the longest tenured managers in the NL behind only Clint Hurdle in Pittsburgh (2010).
BREWERS WINS UNDER COUNSELL
5 Seasons (324-306) .514
- 2015 – 61 *Counsell managed the remaining 137 games
- 2016 – 73
- 2017 – 86
- 2018 – 96 *102 if you include the postseason
- 2019 – 08
PIECE OF CAKE
Sunday marked birthdays for David Bote, 26, and Josh Hader, 25.
WATCH YOUR MITTS
Willson Contreras (2) and Victor Caratini (1) combined to set a modern day MLB record by committing a catcher’s interference in three straight games (Thur., Fri., Sat.).
Through the first nine games, the Cubs rotation managed three quality starts, two via Jon Lester, a collective 6.80 ERA, and an NL-low 41.0 innings pitched.
In 27 career games with Chicago, 20 of which were starts, Tyler Chatwood has walked 99 batters in 108.2 innings. This season: four walks in 5.0 innings. Chatwood, remarkably, not only remains on the roster, but is signed for two more seasons.
ROTATION vs. PIT
- Lester – Mon,
- Darvish – Wed.
- Quintana – Thu.
Pirates: 1:20 p.m.
- Pregame ceremonies: A flyover is scheduled from the 90th Flying Training Squadron out of Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas.
- National anthem and God Bless America by Wayne Messmer.
- First pitch: Cubs Hall of Famers Billy Williams, Andre Dawson, Fergie Jenkins, Ryne Sandberg, and Lee Smith; Smith will also lead the 7th inning stretch.