Cubs and Brewers Clash in Milwaukee in NL Central Battle

Chicago Cubs (Matt Garza, 0-0) at Milwaukee Brewers (Chris Narveson, 0-0)
Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Saturday, April 9, 2011, 7:10 pm Eastern, TV: Comcast-Chicago, FSN-Wisconsin, MLB Extra Innings
Opening Money Line: MIL -115 / CHC -105
Current Money Line: MIL -110 / CHC +100
Opening Run Line: CHC + 1 1/2 -210 / MIL – 1 1/2 +180
Current Run Line: CHC  + 1 1/2 -220 / MIL – 1 1/2 +190
Opening Total: 8 1/2 under -120 / over even
Current Total: 8 1/2 under -115 / over -105

Ryan Braun and the Brewers host the Cubs Saturday night. Both teams are battling early season injuries.

The Cubs and Brewers renew what has become a very heated rivalry though they didn’t play each other except in spring training until about 15 years ago when Milwaukee moved form the American League to the National League. The Cubs are 4-3 this season, and the Brewers are 3-5. The Cubs won the opener of the three game set last night 7-4 in their first road game of the season. The Cubs are a game behind Cincinnati early in the season.

The Cubs will start righty Matt Garza whom they acquired from the Rays in an off-season trade. He took a no-decision in his first start against the Pirates this season. He allowed 3 earned runs, and struck out 12 batters in 7 innings of work. The Cubs ended up losing 5-4 after they took Garza out. Garza has never pitched against Milwaukee before.  The Brewers will counter with young lefty Chris Narveson. Narveson also took a no decision in his first start of the season. He didn’t allow a run in 6 innings Monday against the Braves. He walked 3 and struck out 5. The Braves won 2-1 after they took out Narveson. Narveson is 2-0 in 2 career starts versus the Cubs with a 1.59 ERA.

The Cubs are 20-13 against the Brewers  in the last 3 seasons including 12-7 in Milwaukee. The over is 19-11-2 in those games overall, but the under is 9-8-2 at Miller Park.  The Cubs are 37-47 against the money line versus division foes in the last 3 seasons. Chicago is 31-47 against the money line after a win the last 2 seasons and 37-43 versus teams with winning records in the same span. The Cubs are 15-3 as a road underdog of +100 to +125 the last 2 seasons.

Chicago starting pitchers Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner are on the 15 day disabled list. First baseman Carlos Pena has a thumb injury and missed a couple of games, but did play last night. Pena is batting .333 with 4 RBI’s on the season. Shortstop Starlin Castro is leads the team in batting average (.367), OBP (.406), and hits with 11. Alfonso Soriano leads the Cubs in home runs with 3 and RBI’s with 5. The Cubs have a team batting average of.273 and have scored 30 runs this season. The Cubs have a team ERA of 4.14 and average 9 strikeouts per 9 innings. closer Carlos Marmol already has three saves this season.

Right fielder Corey Hart (oblique), Catcher Jonathan Lucroy (finger), starting pitcher Zack Greinke (ribs), and relief pitchers Latroy Hawkins (shoulder) & Manny Parra (back) are all on the 15 day DL. Left fielder Ryan Braun  leads the Brewers in every offensive category. He is batting .346, has 3 home runs, 5 RBI”s, an OBP of .485, and has 9 hits. Prince Fielder and Richie Weeks  also have 5 RBI’s. Weeks also has 3 home runs. The Brewers have a team batting average of .247 and have scored 26 runs this season. They have a team ERA of 3.75 and average 6.85 strikeouts per 9 innings. Closer John Axford has 2 saves this season.

Both of these teams have significant injuries especially to their starting rotations. Both of today’s pitchers were a little unlucky in their first start of the season. Both pitched brilliantly  and were tied when they left the game. The bullpens blew both games. The weather will be cold in Milwaukee with temps in the high 30’s but Miller Park has a retractable roof so it won’t be a problem. I do like the under in this game as that has been the trend here recently between these two teams.

Our baseball handicappers are red hot to start the season. Check out our baseball odds page to find the best odds for this game and others.

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