Cubs vs Brewers – MLB Pick for June 12th
The Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers are in the midst of a big midweek series to determine supremacy in the National League Central. The Brew Crew entered Monday’s series-opener a half-game up on the Cubbies for first, with the Cardinals lurking just behind them.
Chicago emerged victorious by a score of 7-2 in 11 innings on Monday night. Anthony Rizzo’s towering home run in the top of the 11th proved to be the decider before the Cubs piled on to pad the lead afterward. It’s now Chicago that leads the division by a half-game, while the Brewers will look to reclaim the lead with a win tonight. Chase Anderson will take the mound for Milwaukee against Tyler Chatwood for the Cubs.
Chase Anderson hasn’t been very good this season after a strong 2017 campaign. The right-hander has a 4.57 ERA that is quite a bit better than his 5.20 SIERA. Anderson has allowed a hard-hit rate of nearly 35 percent, which is problematic considering he’s a pretty heavy fly ball pitcher. You know what hard-hit fly balls turn into? Yep, home runs. Anderson has already allowed 13 dingers this season after conceding just 14 all of last season.
The righty posted a respectable strikeout rate of 23.4 percent, but that’s all the way down to just 15.9 percent so far in ‘18. His walk rate is also over 2 percentage points higher than we saw a year ago. While he still has his standard staunch reverse splits, lefties have accounted for 7 of the 13 home runs allowed already.
The Cubs signed Tyler Chatwood to a big-money deal in the offseason, but they have to be already wondering whether that was a mistake. While Chatwood’s 3.86 ERA looks plenty respectable, his SIERA is all the way up at a ghastly 6.19. Chatty is about a league average strikeout guy, and he gets most of his outs via the ground ball.
Chatwood has a ground ball rate over 54 percent, which has helped in terms of run prevention. The problem is that he has been allowing baserunners by the truckload. Chatwood is one of the only pitchers I’ve ever seen with a negative strikeout-to-walk ratio. The right-hander has a 19.6 percent strikeout rate alongside a walk rate of 20.7 percent.
Chatwood’s nonstop walks have limited how deep he’s been able to pitch into games. While he has allowed more than 4 earned runs just once so far this season, he has also managed to pitch beyond 5 innings just a handful of times. In his last start against the Phillies, Chatwood was chased after allowing a run on 4 hits in 4.2 innings. He also walked 7, which put his 2018 campaign into a nutshell.
Walks have always been a part of Chatwood’s game, but the problem has never been this egregious. It’s safe to say he’ll see some positive regression in that department moving forward, but it’s been tough sledding for him so far. Tonight, he’ll face a Milwaukee lineup that ranks 17th in the majors in walk rate (8.6 percent). Interestingly enough, Chatwood’s best start as a Cub to this point came against the Brewers. Back on April 29, he twirled 7 scoreless innings while allowing just 2 hits and walking 3 in a 2-0 victory.
While the Cubs’ lineup as a whole hasn’t yet fully hit its stride, they’re in a great spot tonight against Anderson, who is a homer-prone pitcher pitching in a park friendly for power. One thing the Cubs do have in spades is power bats, and an offensive explosion here tonight wouldn’t surprise me. It’s hard to trust Chatwood enough to keep the Brewers off the scoreboard, but it’s rare to get the Cubs as an underdog.
These games are meaningful in terms of the postseason, and I think Chicago is focused. Take the Cubs as +103 dogs on the moneyline.
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