Brewers vs Cubs Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Picks for Monday, August 28
Dustin Satloff/Getty Images. Pictured: Cody Bellinger #24 of the Chicago Cubs.
Brewers vs. Cubs Odds
One of the most anticipated series of the season will begin on Monday night when the Brewers visit Wrigley Field for the first of three against the Cubs. Chicago has won seven of nine but still finds itself four back of Milwaukee for first place in the NL Central.
Can the Cubs begin to gain some ground here on Monday? Let's break it down in our Brewers vs Cubs preview and prediction.
The Brewers will hand the ball to Wade Miley here in the midst of what's been a solid month of August. In four starts he's pitched to a 3.60 ERA, allowing just three home runs and keeping the Brewers in most games he's pitched in. Miley's had a down year for ground balls, but in August he's rolled them up at a season-high 52.5% clip and that's led to an excellent .218 xBA. Ground balls have always been imperative to Miley's success, and there's no further proof than that number right there.
Do I believe in this Brewers offense? Well, no, I don't. It's pretty hard to do so, considering even when Milwaukee is "hot" its numbers are quite underwhelming. This offense owns just a 102 wRC+ over the last two weeks, which would classify as a good 14 days considering its wRC+ for the season is at 90.
The uptick in production seems to be correlated to a very low 16.6% strikeout rate — seven points lower than the Brewers' normal rate — and a quite extreme 11.3% walk rate. The Brewers' Isolated Power stands at just .148, so they've really done very little when the ball has come back into play.
Speaking of ground balls, Jameson Taillon has been giving up an uncharacteristic number of fly balls this year. His ground ball rate is all the way down to 36.2%, and that's what has finally caused his expected numbers to shoot up. Taillon's still posting similar numbers in the hard-hit and strikeout departments, but a slight uptick in walks and a totally different batted ball profile have changed the veteran's identity.
With that said, the right-hander did post a 46.7% ground ball rate in his last start against the Tigers. It was his best performance in that regard in six starts, so even though he allowed four earned runs over 5 2/3 innings I think there are some positives to take away. His expected batting average was at just .224 and he was victimized by a Kerry Carpenter grand slam in the sixth. He'd pitched very well up until that point.
Offensively, I like the Cubs in this spot. Not only are they rocking a 103 wRC+ against lefties this year, but they're due for some more positive regression. Their BABIP for the last two weeks is still around 30 points lower than their .306 BABIP for the season, and we've already seen some luck turn back around in their favor in recent games. Chicago remains a very disciplined team at the dish with just a 19.3% strikeout rate over the last two weeks, though Miley is a strike-thrower.
Brewers vs. Cubs
Betting Pick & Prediction
The Cubs' offense is trending upwards once again, and I think against a pitch-to-contact lefty they should have continued success on Monday. Chicago ranks ninth in ground ball rate this year and is one of the best teams in baseball at converting them into hits which should put them in a good position against Miley.
On the other side of the coin, Milwaukee is an extreme ground ball team at 44.5% for the season but has not had the same level of success as Chicago when it comes to hitting for average. Taillon is desperate for ground balls these days and should have another great matchup with a team that hammers the ball into the dirt.
I think the Cubs pick up the win here as the team with the better offense and the pitcher in the better situation.