A pair of National League contenders will collide this weekend for the second time in May, this time at Miller Park, when the Milwaukee Brewers host the Philadelphia Phillies for a three-game set. It’s a matchup that could very well be a playoff preview.
The Brewers will be looking for similar results from the first meeting after taking three of four in Philadelphia last week. They scored a whopping 29 runs in the effort, continuing a common theme for their campaign. Milwaukee has had no issues getting on the scoreboard, as they’ve scored more runs than all but three NL teams on the year.
After dropping the series, the Phillies responded by sweeping the Colorado Rockies over the weekend. Entering Tuesday’s action, their win streak remained and they’ll look to maintain their cushion for first place in the NL East. The Brew Crew, meanwhile, trails the first-place Chicago Cubs by a mere game in the Central.
It’s two evenly-matched organizations that look like they’re ticketed for the postseason. Let’s see if we can dissect the pitching matchups.
Jerad Eickhoff vs. Jhoulys Chacin (Friday): One pitcher that shouldn’t be overlooked in Philadelphia’s early-season success is Eickhoff, who has been nothing but a pleasant surprise after being limited to just 5.1 total innings a year ago due to injury.
This season, he’s made six starts (and one relief appearance), and while the fifth-year right-hander is only 2-2, Eickhoff has put together a desirable 3.23 ERA while collectively limiting opponents to a .216 batting average. He’s been so consistent that the under has gone 5-1 in his starts.
Chacin had a similar surprising emergence last year in helping get the Brewers all the way to an NLCS Game 7. While he hasn’t been as consistent in 2019, this could be a spot for one of his better outings considering it will be in Milwaukee. His career ERA at home (3.64) is more than a full half-run better than it is on the road (4.16). In addition, star slugger Bryce Harper is 0-for-8 lifetime against Chacin. UNDER
Jake Arrieta vs. Chase Anderson (Saturday): In his much-anticipated return to Wrigley Field on Monday, Arrieta was terrific, yielding only one run across six innings. It was a sharp improvement from the previous pair of starts in which the former NL Cy Young Award winner was tagged for four runs apiece. With such a nice track record at Miller Park (3-1, 2.88 ERA, 0.99 WHIP in six career starts) Arrieta will be in position to keep it going.
Anderson may not be the same type of brand name but he has been pitching notably well since being reinserted into the rotation. In fact, as a starter, he’s put up a cool 1.32 ERA, as he’s yet to surrender more than two runs in any outing (albeit in three starts). The former Arizona Diamondback appears healthy and that may be the biggest key for him in delivering this quality pitching. UNDER
Zach Eflin vs. Brandon Woodruff (Sunday): There was some concern over who could serviceably fill out the bottom of Milwaukee’s pitching staff. Woodruff has done more than answer the call, as not only does his 6-1 record pace the club in wins, he’s also leading his rotation mates in innings (56.1) and strikeouts (65). He’s mostly been outstanding, allowing two runs or fewer in seven of 10 starts — including each of the last five.
Toeing the rubber for Philadelphia will be Eflin, who has arguably been even better thus far than his counterpart for the series finale. That’s evident from the impressive 2.89 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and .244 BAA he’s recorded through his first nine starts, which would all be career-best marks if they ended around there.
At the same time, Eflin has logged a 3.98 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching), indicating he’s due for a regression. Given his career home-and-road splits in which he’s produced an ERA that is nearly a full run-and-a-half higher in his away assignments (5.40), this might be a challenge he doesn’t fare well with. OVER
Last Week: 1-2
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