Cubs vs. Brewers Odds, Preview, Prediction: Milwaukee Goes For Sweep Over Division Rival (Wednesday, June 30)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images. Pictured: Avisail Garcia
Cubs vs. Brewers Odds
|Time||2:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Wednesday morning and via BetMGM.|
The Milwaukee Brewers took the second game of this series at home against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night by the score of 2-1.
While the Brewers (47-33) won the game, they managed to do so on just two hits — an RBI double by Christian Yelich in the first inning and a single by Jace Peterson in the fourth. That proved to be enough to earn them the victory.
The Cubs (42-38), meanwhile, managed six hits, but were only able to get into the scoring column after Patrick Wisdom drove in a run with an RBI double in the fourth inning. With the loss, Chicago fell to five games behind Milwaukee in the National League Central.
Can the Brewers complete the rare three-game sweep on Wednesday night, or should we expect the Cubs to take one on the road in this division matchup?
Arrieta Has Struggled For Cubs
It has not been a good year for veteran starter Jake Arrieta. In fact, it’s been quite a few years since we’ve seen the pitcher who was among the best starters in the league during his first stint with the Cubs from 2014-2017.
Over 71 innings this year, Arrieta has compiled a 5.60 FIP, allowed 3.8 BB/9 and 1.90 HR/9 to opposing batters. Perhaps the most troubling of all: He’s allowed an alarmingly high 47.8% Hard Hit rate to opponents as well.
While he hasn’t been in top form for some time, he’s made some substantial changes to his off-speed repertoire this season that may be responsible for the type of numbers we’re seeing. Over the past three seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, Arrieta shifted away from his curveball and relied more heavily on the changeup.
During his time with the Cubs, he used the curveball approximately 15% of the time and the changeup just 5%. That mix reversed while in Philadelphia, but it’s resurfaced once again now that he’s back in Chicago. While it was successful the first time around, Arrieta is a much different — and older — pitcher than he was in 2015. When we dive deeper into the numbers, we see that his wCU (Curveball runs above average) is 1.8 this season versus just 0.9 last year, an indication that this increased usage is a substantive factor in the poor numbers we’re seeing so far.
While the Brewers haven’t been anything special against right-handed pitching so far this season (.294 wOBA), their offense has been much improved lately. Over the past five, they’ve managed an impressive 7.2 runs per game.
Debuting Pitcher Has Impressed In Minors
Aaron Ashby will make his major-league debut on Wednesday for the Brewers after what has been a strong season so far at Triple-A. While a starter to begin the season, Ashby’s last few appearances in the minors have been out of the bullpen, with a two-inning outing on June 17 being his longest outing in relief thus far.
Ashby’s numbers at Triple-A were impressive. Over 38 innings, he’s managed a 3.08 FIP and struck out batters at an impressively high 13.3 K/9. Ashby pairs an effective mid-90s fastball with what many consider to be a wipeout slider, so he should be able to find success at the major-league level if he can command those pitches the way he’s used to.
Today, he’ll take on a Cubs team that has been just around league average this season against left-handed pitching, collectively hitting to a .314 team wOBA thus far.
Given he’s been used exclusively as a reliever for the last three weeks, it’s likely this becomes a bullpen game for the Brewers sooner rather than later. While the Brewers’ bullpen has not necessarily been a strong spot, it has been serviceable. Over 292 1/3 innings, relievers have compiled a 4.31 FIP and retired batters at a 10.9 K/9 clip.
While it’s difficult to project the outcome of any pitcher in his debut, it’s a bit easier when we expect just a few innings in what will likely amount to a glorified opener appearance for Ashby. With reduced expectations of an extended outing, his repertoire should be effective against this Cubs lineup. After the first few innings, I expect we’ll see a bullpen game from a formidable group of relievers on the Milwaukee side.
Arrieta, meanwhile, has struggled so far this season and will take on a surging Brewers team that has shown substantial improvement at the plate over the past week or so. While he did give up only two runs in his last start, his 5.95 FIP in that outing is a strong indicator that his issues are not yet resolved.
I don’t typically like taking the money line when a team is as high as -160, particularly with a player making his MLB debut on the mound. That said, I’m comfortable taking the Brewers in this one at the current line. Given the cost, however, I’ll likely avoid this altogether if the moneyline moves any higher in their favor.
Pick: Brewers (-160)