Fantasy Preview: Cubs vs Brewers 21st Sep 2017

The Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers have been battling it out for the top spot in the National League Central race for much of the 2017 season. So, it only makes sense that, with one week left to go in the regular season, these two will play a four game series starting on the 21st September @ Brewers that, once and for all, will determine who ends the year with the division crown.

The biggest names on the Chicago Cubs need no introduction. By and large, much of this team remains the same as the juggernaut that swept through baseball in 2016, en route to that long-awaited World Series win. Unfortunately for teams both in the National League Central, and the National League as a whole, the pitching staff that guided this team to said championship looks like it’s rounding right back into postseason form. Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana, who will be the first two pitchers to take the mound against Milwaukee, are two of the top 20 pitchers in fantasy baseball right now.

Key Fantasy Preview Points of Note

Much like his team overall, Hendricks has been surging since the middle of the summer, holding opponents to three or fewer earned runs in each one of his 10 starts since July 24th; his 3-2 record since then belies how good he’s been. Quintana has put up a 3.84 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, and averaged over six strikeouts per game in the 11 starts since he joined the Cubs on July 16th (when he was acquired from the cross-town Chicago White Sox).

Arrieta looks like he’ll be back after missing some time with a strained hamstring, bringing his 3.48 ERA and 1.20 WHIP across 160.1 innings back to the lineup. And while Lester hasn’t been his usual self this season (his 4.30 ERA and 1.31 WHIP are both five-year worsts), he’s still a tremendous anchor to this staff. Hopefully the two quality starts he’s had in September is a sign of better things to come in the playoffs.

Five straight wins!

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The pitching staff is going to have to do a lot of the heavy lifting for this team over the next few weeks, as some of the “big bats” for the Cubs have been struggling. Reigning MVP Kris Bryant has struggled driving runs in this season, despite his .402 on-base percentage; he’s hitting .204 with men in scoring position and has 18 solo home runs. Anthony Rizzo has just five hits over 30 at-bats (.167) over the past week, and his batting average is down from last season.

At the end of the day, Milwaukee is a division opponent, meaning anything can happen when these two teams play each other. Brewers pitcher Zach Davies, scheduled to start the first game of the season, has been playing well enough to be a real threat to help steal that game; he’s allowed just five earned runs through 39.1 innings over his past six starts. Chase Anderson will be matched up against the returning Arrieta; the former has allowed only four earned runs in his three starts in September, en route to a 2-0 record.

In other words: the four games of this series will be an excellent appetizer to the entree that is playoff baseball.

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