The Cubs put the JV club out there last night, but I suspect we’ll see mostly starters until Sunday in order to keep everyone sharp. That said, pitchers require more protection than position players, and this is where the Milwaukee Brewers can do damage against the Ryan Dempster and the Chicago Cubs.
Dempster is slated to start game 1 as the NLDS for the Cubs, and while Dempster has been healthy all year, he has an injury-riddled past and the Cubs will likely take no chances with him. This means that Dempster will likely be on a strict pitch count, and taking pitches/fouling off pitches will be at a premium, as it will allow the Brewers to crack the Cub bullpen. And while normally getting into the Cub Bullpen isn’t very helpful, both Wood and Marmol will probably also be on short leashes as well.
This all assumes that Suppan does not get shelled; however he will probably be on a short leash too, as Seth McClung can step in at the first sign of danger.
This is clearly the worst matchup for the Brewers this weekend. Winning will require more than just slugging away. If the Brewers can be patient at the plate and make Dempster and the Cub pitchers work, they will have opportunities to score, and opportunities to win.
Brewers to watch
As was pointed out earlier in the comments section of a different post, Jason Kendall rocks Ryan Dempster for some reason, hitting .429/.545/.486 in 44 PAs. Crazy. (Mike Rivera, by the way, is 1-3 with a HR v. Dempster). Prince and Ray Durham have also beaten up on Ryan pretty good. J.J. Hardy’s .063/.118/.063 makes you wonder if they might not be better letting him rest his hand tonight. Other Brewers who should not go near a bat until Dempster departs include Bill Hall (.167/.167/.167, duh), and Corey Hart who’s 0-12 with 3 walks. If only Manny Parra could play. He’s 2-2 with a double and a triple.
You’re probably wondering how Jeff Suppan and his 86 ERA+ has fared against the Cubbies? Well, remember in Major League how Clu Haywood hit Ricky Vaughn? That’s what Derrek Lee does to Jeff Suppan (.476/.569/.929, 4 HRs and 7 doubles over 51 PAs). Ronny Cedeno, Big Z, and Geo Soto also destroy the guy. In fact, Soto is 2-5 with 2 HRs. That’s way more like Clu Haywood than Lee was.
On the positive front, Alfonso Soriano really struggles with Suppan (.194/.216/.250), but that’s about it.
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