Cubs' Race With Brewers In Full Bloom

The Cubs lead the Brewers by just one game in the NL Central.

Bruce Levine
September 13, 2018 - 8:52 am
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, left

Patrick Gorski/USA Today Sports


CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- The Cubs' lead in the NL Central dropped to a single game over the Milwaukee Brewers, who have shown they're in the same class with the division leaders with just a few weeks to play in the season.

The Brewers earned a 5-1 on Wednesday at Wrigley Field, where Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks lasted just five innings while allowing two runs. Brewers right-hander Chase Anderson gave up no runs but was pulled after four innings, as both managers hit their bullpens early and often in the huge swing game. The Brewers' bullpen pitched five innings of one-run ball as the Cubs couldn't make up the deficit.

Brewers power arm extraordinaire Josh Hader once again struck out the side in the seventh inning. Hader also struck out six straight in his team's win Monday. The question was posed once again whether the Cubs and Brewers have a rivalry brewing.

"I can't comment on that, " Hader said. "It's always good baseball playing against the Cubs. We came out and got the series to keep our momentum going."  

The Brewers' victory bunches up the three-team race, which includes the Cardinals, who are only 3.5 games behind the Cubs. 

"Rivalries are tough to define," Hendricks said. "But that is a really good team over there. They have been playing us close last year and this year. They are our biggest rival for sure at this point. They are definitely coming for us. We can feel it. So we need to focus on what we do and play our brand of baseball."

After falling Wednesday, the Cubs' lead in the all-important loss column down to two games. The Cubs will fly to Washington and play the Nationals on Thursday as the Brewers enjoy an off day. 

The Cubs have lost four of their last five games. They also lost a home series for the first time since May 22-23 against the Cleveland Indians.

"We have the experience to be in the playoffs," Javier Baez said. "I think that is why we have to control ourselves better. Hopefully, we don't have to face them in the playoffs. If we do, we have the experience."

Milwaukee won four of the last six games between the two teams, picking up four games in standings in 10 days. The fate of the two teams now will be in their own hands, as the Cubs finished the head-to-head part of their season 11-8 against the Brewers.

The Cubs' offensive woes continued Wednesday. They had just three hits in their win Tuesday and then just five Wednesday.

"The offense has taken a hit," manager Joe Maddon said. "No pun intended. We got to get better. There is just is no other way to look at it. We have to find that within ourselves." 

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.