It’s been a mixed week for the Cubbies early into an historic 2020 season. Their three-game series with St. Louis was postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak amongst Cardinals’ players. Three additional players tested positive bringing the total number of infected players and staff to 16. The rest of the week was a virtual wash against Cleveland and Milwaukee, leaving MLB World Series odds relatively stable.
Cubs See Success In Cleveland (Not So With Milwaukee)
The Cubs traveled to Cleveland where they took on their 2016 World Series foes in a two-game series. The Northsiders took both games from the Tribe, each time scoring 7 runs. Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks picked up the wins in Cleveland.
The Cubs returned home to Wrigley Field to face the Brewers in a four-game series over the weekend. After taking the first game on Thursday 4-2 to extend their winning streak to three games, the Cubs went on to drop the next three. The Brewers scored six runs on both Saturday and Sunday. Losing 3 of the 4 games to Milwaukee hasn’t hurt the Cubs (13-6) in the standings as they maintain a 3.5 game lead over the Cardinals and the Brewers.
Win Some Lose Some
Jon Lester earned his third win of the year versus the Indians and recorded a no-decision in the Cubs 6-5 loss to the Brewers. In both of his last two starts, Lester pitched six innings. Lester recorded 9 strikes during the week while walking only two in both starts. In total, Lester gave up 6 earned runs versus Cleveland (1) and Milwaukee (5). His ERA is currently 2.74.
Brewers Christian Yelich and Keston Hiura each hit 3 run home runs off Cubs pitching during the series.
This weekend’s series was the second meeting between the Cubs and Brewers since the revised MLB 2020 season kicked off in July. In that first series, the Cubs took 2 of 3 from the Brewers, outscoring them 12 to 9. The two teams are not scheduled to face each other again until September (11-13) when the Cubs travel up to Milwaukee.
Heyward, Chatwood Out
After hitting his second home run of the year in Cleveland, Jason Heyward (RF) was scratched from Sunday’s lineup against the Brewers with back tightness. In his previous five games, Heyward had seven hits in thirteen at-bats, driving in six runs. Heyward is listed as day-to-day.
Right-handed starter Tyler Chatwood (2-1 5.40) has been put on the 10-day injured list. Reports of a mid-back strain have landed the starter on the list. Chatwood’s last start was against the Royals where he gave 8 earned runs in only 2.1 innings, earning him the loss. Jason Adams (RHP) has been called up from South Bend.
Rivalry Week Ahead
The Cubs will be facing a pair of long time rivals at home in what is going to be a long week for the division leaders. Both the Cardinals and White Sox will make the trip to Wrigley to face off the Cubs.
Needing to make up games due to COVID-19, the Cubs and Cardinals are scheduled to play five games in three days. At the end of the week, the White Sox (11-11) will head uptown to play their Windy City rivals. This will be the first time this season the two Chicago teams face each other. DraftKings lists the moneyline odds for the first game in the series as Cardinals +155 / Cubs -180.
Could 2020 Be The Year For The Cubs?
Even with their recent three-game skid, the Cubs (13-6) are off to their best 15 game start since 1970. Dreams of a second World Series title since 2016 are alive and well on the North Side.
In addition to the Cardinal cancellations, MLB suspended games between the Reds and Pirates after players for Cincinnati tested positive for COVID-19. NBC Sports reported on August 15 that the Cubs remain the only team without a player testing positive for COVID-19.
This could bode well for the Cubbies. In July, DraftKings listed the Cubs as being the favorite coming out of the National League Central in 2020. At the time DraftKings listed the Cubs World Series odds at +2500. Odds are improving with DraftKings listing the Cubs odds at +1500 as of August 17. The Cubs trail only the Dodgers and the Braves in odds for the National League pennant.
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