The Brewers are in a prime spot with a 0.5 game lead in the #1 wild card slot in the National League. Even so, they would love to avoid the play-in game by being division winners. Milwaukee is 5GB from the Cubs in the Central division race but can make up some ground with a 3-game set at Miller Park starting on Monday. Oddsmakers are calling the September 3rd NL free pick pretty close, making Chicago -120 favorites (MIL +110) with Cole Hamels on the hill.
Cubs Offense Is Clicking
Of course not only can the Brew Crew catch Chicago in the division race, alternatively the Cubs can put away Milwaukee with a strong series starting with a win Monday. Joe Maddon’s team definitely has the bats going as they outscored Philadelphia 15-2 on Saturday and Sunday. Javy Baez hit his 30th HR of the season and knocked in his 100th run of the year over the weekend. Anthony Rizzo is hitting at a .407 clip (2HR) over the past 7 days and Kris Bryant is even getting into the swing of things going 3-7 since returning from the DL Saturday. Bryant has hit .394 with 2HR in his career against today’s Milwaukee starter Zach Davies and could power today’s game towards an ‘over’ of 8.5.
Besides the bats, another reason the Cubs are a great pick in the September 3rd NL free pick is because Cole Hamels (9-9, 3.70 ERA) is on the hill. Chicago has won all 6 of his starts since acquiring the lefty from the Rangers. In fact Hamels has allowed a grand total of 3 runs over that span (39 IP). Just when you thought the ‘over’ was a sound bet.
Brewers Need to Answer Pitching Questions Today
The unenviable task of facing the Cubs offense falls on Zach Davies (2-5, 5.23 ERA) today. Milwaukee is 7-3 over their last 10 overall, but have dropped 4 of 5 when Davies takes the mound at home. Of course that trend goes back to May 29th when Davies made his last big league start. The right-hander has been sidelined for the last 3 months with shoulder and back issues so who knows what version of the pitcher will show up in the September 3rd NL free pick. The Cubs are also 19-7 in their last 26 vs. a righty.
No matter what happens on the mound, the Brewers do have the offense to get to Hamels on Monday afternoon. Milwaukee has 5 games of 7+ runs scored in their last 9 contests. Christian Yelich had a grand slam in a 9-4 win over Washington yesterday and has now hit .444 with 4HR and 14 RBI over his last 6 games. Hernan Perez is 5 for his last 11 (.455) while Ryan Braun has a .351 average with 3HR in his career against Hamels. Milwaukee will need to get the bats going as they have lost 8 of the last 11 vs. Chicago.
September 3rd NL Free Pick Betting
It’s definitely possible that the Brewers do get to Hamels today, especially the way the Milwaukee bats have been hitting the ball. That being said, the Brewers just have too many question marks from their pitching situation. Davies is making his 1st MLB start since the end of May and is up against a Chicago offense that is incredibly talented from 1-8 in the lineup. With Hamels on the hill, there’s just absolutely great value on the Cubs today.
NL Free Pick: Chicago Cubs -120