Friday is the big-league managerial debut of the Chicago Cubs’ David Ross, who was a backup catcher and clubhouse leader on the 2016 World Series-winning Cubs. Chicago hosts NL Central rival Milwaukee on national TV.
How to Bet Brewers at Cubs MLB Odds & TV Info
- When: Friday, 7 PM ET
- Where: Wrigley Field
- Probable pitchers (away/home): Brandon Woodruff/Kyle Hendricks
- TV: ESPN
- Stream/gameday audio: ESPN+, https://www.mlb.com/live-stream-games/
- Opening MLB Lines: Cubs -123, Brewers +113 (8.5)
Why Bet on Milwaukee?
There was some concern that Ryan Braun would not be ready for the opener as Braun has been slowed at summer camp by various aches and pain. However, Braun went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts as the Brewers’ designated hitter Wednesday in an exhibition and thus seems likely to play.
Keston Hiura went 2-for-3 and homered in the Brewers’ 5-3 defeat of the White Sox on Wednesday. Hiura’s sore arm turned into a concern during summer camp, but the Brewers are confident that he’ll be able to serve as their regular second baseman. He hit .303/.368/.570 as a rookie.
Projected starting shortstop Luis Urias will begin the season at the Brewers’ alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin. Urias missed most of camp following a positive diagnosis for COVID-19, so the Brewers want to ease him back into game action. Orlando Arcia is in position to begin the season as the starting shortstop.
It’s All-Star right-hander Brandon Woodruff on the mound. Woodruff has risen from an 11th-round Draft pick in 2014 to Brewers Minor League pitcher of the year in ’16 to NL All-Star in ’19 to the Brewers’ seventh different Opening Day starter in as many years.
The 27-year-old right-hander was named 2019 Brewers Most Valuable Pitcher after going 11-3 with a 3.62 ERA in 22 starts. The first time All-Star led the team in wins, strikeouts (143) and quality starts (10), and the Brewers went 18-4 in his starts. He was on the 10-day injured list from 7/22-9/16 with a left oblique strain. At the time of his injury ranked among the NL leaders in wins (T2nd, 11), strikeouts (8th, 136), K/9 IP (9th, 10.40) and K/BB (9th, 4.69). Woodruff started the NL Wild Card Game at Washington and received no decision in the 4-3 loss.
Why Bet on Chicago Cubs?
The Cubs in 2019 finished third in the N.L. Central Division with an 84-79 (.519) record. Chicago recorded a winning record for the fifth consecutive season dating to 2015 – that’s the franchise’s longest winning stretch since six-straight winning seasons from 1967-72. Chicago batters set a single-season franchise record with 256 home runs, second-most in the N.L. and sixth in the majors.
Ross begins his first season as manager of the Cubs. He played 15 major league seasons as a catcher and is a two-time World Series champion (Red Sox in 2013 and Cubs in 2016). Ross served as a special assistant to baseball operations with the Cubs from 2017-19 and is the 55th manager in Cubs history, replacing Joe Maddon on October 24, 2019. The 2020 season marks Ross’ 23rd in professional baseball.
The Cubs have a 78-64-2 all-time Opening Day record. Chicago is 49-40 when opening the season on the road and 29-24-2 when opening at home (includes the 2000 opener in Japan). The Cubs will be playing the Brewers on Opening Day for just the second time ever. The first was Opening Day 2008, March 31, at Wrigley Field when the Brewers defeated Chicago, 4-3 in 10 innings.
All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo has been bothered by a bad back but should play. Rizzo went 2-for-3 with a homer in his return to the lineup on Wednesday. Former NL MVP Kris Bryant was scratched from the Cubs’ Wednesday exhibition game against the Brewers due to back stiffness but also should play.
It’s Kyle Hendricks on the mound. Hendricks surrendered three runs in 4 2/3 innings Sunday in a loss to the White Sox. All of those runs came in the fifth inning, when Hendricks might have been wearing down some. He extended himself to 83 pitches in his final warm-up start.
Hendricks’ career 3.14 ERA ranks sixth among all active pitchers with at least 100 starts, trailing only Clayton Kershaw (2.44), Jacob deGrom (2.62), Hyun-Jin Ryu (2.98), Chris Sale (3.03) and Madison Bumgarner (3.13). In 2019, Hendricks ranked second in the majors in home ERA, posting a 2.04 ERA in 14 starts at Wrigley Field.
- Brewers are 0-4 in their last 4 road games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Brewers are 0-4 in their last 4 road games.
- Cubs are 8-2 in their last 10 during game 1 of a series.
- Cubs are 0-8 in their last 8 games as a favorite.
- Cubs are 0-6 in their last 6 home games.
Expert PredictionCubs 5, Brewers 4