Milwaukee will try to bounce back from a tough loss to Chicago when the teams square off in the second game of a three-game series on Saturday afternoon. The Brewers held a 5-4 lead in the fifth inning and a 7-6 lead in the sixth inning before ultimately conceding in an 8-7 setback. Chicago has now won four consecutive games for the first time since July 26.
Brewers in losing skidMilwaukee got off to a strong start to the second half of the season, winning seven of its first eight games back from the All-Star break. However, the Brewers have lost 11 of their 17 games since then. They were swept by Pittsburgh and lost a series to Cincinnati during that stretch, so it has certainly been a disappointment. Milwaukee has not won a series of at least three games since taking two out of three at Boston at the end of July. The Brewers are sitting three games back of St. Louis in the National League Central standings, and they are 1.5 games back of San Diego for the final NL Wild Card spot.
Took the lead back pic.twitter.com/aWHRECKYaw— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) August 19, 2022
Their offense has not been great this season, ranked No. 22 in team batting average (.236). Left fielder Christian Yelich leads the way with 105 hits, while designated hitter Andrew McCutchen has 99 base knocks. They will be facing a Chicago pitching staff that is No. 23 with an ERA of 4.23. Right-handed pitcher Freddy Peralta is going to be on the mound for Milwaukee on Saturday afternoon. He allowed one run on two hits and four walks across four innings against the Dodgers in his last outing. Peralta tied a season-high in walks, but the lone run came on a solo home run. He is still working his way back from a lengthy absence due to a lat strain, and he has now allowed five runs across 12.2 innings since returning to the rotation earlier this month.
Cubs on four-game winning streakChicago entered the All-Star break 22 games under the .500 mark, so not many experts expected the Cubs to be competitive during the second half of the season. They have done just that, though, including a five-game winning streak to open the second half. Chicago is now on another four-game winning streak following Friday’s win, and it has won 10 of its last 14 games overall. The Cubs have played Miami, Washington (twice), Cincinnati and Baltimore during that stretch. They are still 13.5 games back of San Diego for the final NL Wild Card spot, so the playoffs are still probably not in the cards for them this year.
Blue Angels. pic.twitter.com/N3d4CReJD1— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 19, 2022
Their offense has been their strength this season, as they rank No. 15 in the majors in batting average (.244). Left fielder Ian Happ leads the team with 118 hits, while shortstop Nico Hoerner has 109 hits. They will be facing a Milwaukee pitching staff that is No. 12 with an ERA of 3.83. Right-handed pitcher Marcus Stroman is going to make the start for Chicago in this game. He allowed four unearned runs on six hits across 4.2 innings against Washington in his last outing. Stroman has now posted three consecutive no-decisions, allowing 11 runs (seven earned) across 16.1 innings during that stretch. He has been able to lower his ERA to 3.96, but he has not received much in the form of run support.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
I think this is another excellent opportunity to take Chicago as a home underdog against the struggling Brewers. Milwaukee was in first place in the NL Central for a solid portion of the season, but the team is now starting to slide out of playoff contention altogether. The Cubs, meanwhile, were disastrous during the first half of the year, but they have been playing great baseball of late. Stroman has been able to lower his ERA below 4.00 during his recent starts too, while Peralta is still working his way back from an injury. All signs are pointing to Chicago as the value play on Saturday.
Full-Game Total Pick
Chicago has been playing well due to its pitching, which has not been the case for most of the season. Oddsmakers have not adjusted to this shift, so the Cubs have gone under the total in seven of their last nine home games. They have also gone under in four of their last six games against the Brewers. Stroman has been able to lower his ERA of late, but he has not been getting any run support. Both of those factors are steering me to the under, especially with Peralta expected to improve each time out.