Fans in the Windy City are worried after it turns out the Cubs are not going to go undefeated this season. Chicago is out to a 2-3 start even after series’ with Miami and Cincinnati to start the year. The Cubs continue their 9 game road swing to begin 2018 with a four game series in Milwaukee. The Brewers have started off 4-2 and have some decent money coming in on them in the April 5th NL free pick. Thursday night’s line opened at MIL +123 but is down to the Brewers +100. Is Chicago in trouble tonight?
Cubs Turn to Lester After Rain Postpones Last Game
The Cubs visit to Cincinnati was supposed to be short anyways with just a two game series scheduled, but that turned into a 1-game visit after rain caused Tuesday’s game to be postponed. Combined with a scheduled travel day Wednesday that means Chicago starter Jon Lester (0-0, 8.10 ERA) will be making his first start since last Thursday’s Opening Day. That game didn’t go so well for the lefty, who was hit for 3ER and 7H in just 3.1 IP against the Marlins. Lester walked 3 and only struck out 2 Miami batters which has caused some early concern for Chicago fans. Either way, the 34-year-old gets the ball Thursday against a Brewers team that has a .274 career average against him.
Perhaps more concerning in the April 5th NL free pick is the fact that the Chicago offense has been for the most part nonexistent this year. The Cubs have been shut out in back-to-back games and have just a .204 average as a team. Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo is hitting just .130 on the year and Willson Contreras, Ian Happ, and Javier Baez all join him under the Mendoza line. That group is just 4-22 against tonight’s Milwaukee starter Brent Suter as well.
Brewers Look To Improve On Their Home Stand
Milwaukee started the year off right with a three game sweep in San Diego but they just lost 2 of 3 at home to the Cardinals. The Brew Crew was outscored 9-20 in the series including yesterday’s 0-6 loss. The Brewers have the 6th best batting average in the league, but they’ll be shorthanded in the April 5th NL free pick as Christian Yelich (.385, 1HR) will miss tonight after suffering an oblique injury. Ryan Braun and Lorenzo Cain should both pick up some of the offensive slack thanks to their past performances against Chicago’s Lester. Braun is 7-16 (.438) against the lefty while Cain is 5-16 (.313).
The Brewers’ Brent Suter wasn’t sharp in his first start of the year, but his offense bailed him out in a 7-3 win over San Diego. The lefty allowed 3ER in 5.0IP as his season ERA sits at 5.40. Suter appeared in four games against the Cubs last year, doing fairly well with a 1-0 record and a 3.29 ERA. After Suter was moved to the starting role last July, he faced the Cubs twice. The July 28th outing saw 7.0 IP of shutout ball while on September 23rd he allowed just 1ER over 5.1 IP. What this points to is that the the Cubs offense could struggle again Thursday night.
April 5th NL Free Pick
Chicago is listed as a meager -110 favorite despite their struggles to begin the 2018 season. Dating back to last year the Cubs are just 2-10 in the last 12 against a lefty starter while the Brewers are 5-0 in Suter’s last five home starts. There’s good value on both sides as Chicago has won four straight Lester starts against Milwaukee. There’s going to be a lot of Cubs fans in attendance Thursday, but it’s the “true” home team that has the advantage.
Free Pick: Milwaukee Brewers +100