It all comes down to this for the Chicago Cubs (82-77). After dropping three in a row to the Braves, the Cubs enter their final series of the season with their work cut out for them. Sweep the Brewers (90-69), and they’re almost guaranteed to make it into the postseason. Heck, even two out of three will give them a chance. And all that gets a lot easier if they win the first game of the series on Friday, with Kyle Hendricks (6-8, 3.66 ERA) on the mound against Brewers righty Colin Rea (6-6, 4.74 ERA). First pitch from American Family Field is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. ET.
Milwaukee enters as -115 moneyline favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, while Chicago is a slight -105 underdog. The run total is set at 8.
Cubs-Brewers picks: Friday, September 29
Out: INF Nick Madrigal (right hamstring strain), RP Brad Boxberger (right forearm strain), RP Michael Fulmer (right forearm strain),
Out: RP J.B. Bukauskas (right ring finger injury), DH Jesse Winker (right quadriceps injury)
Kyle Hendricks vs. Colin Rea
The longest tenured Cub, it’s only right that Hendricks gets the ball in a game that could decide the team’s season. He’s gone five-plus innings in all four of his September starts, allowing seven runs combined runs in that span. He allowed three runs (one earned) in a loss to Pittsburgh his last time out. He allowed one unearned run in six innings of work against the Brewers at the end of August.
The Brewers recalled Rea from Triple-A earlier this week, his third recall this month, after they placed Trevor Megill on the paternity list. While he’s third on the Brewers with 119.2 innings this season, Rea has spent most of the season shuttling between the Majors and Triple-A as the team worked through injuries to its starting pitchers. He’s made one start in his career against the Cubs, allowing four runs in five innings.
This over is the way to go. Neither pitcher has overpowering stuff, which could lead to runs aplenty in a domed field.
Pick: Over 8
The Cubs pick up a much-needed win after choking away two wins against the Braves. Every game matters for Chicago from here on out, while the Brewers are already locked into the No. 3 seed in the National League. Their playoffs start today, and I’m banking on them starting this series with a win.
Pick: Cubs -105