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Cubs know Brewers are coming for them as NL Central tightens

The Brewers have a combination of left-handed thump at the plate and a generational left-hander on the mound. Reliever Josh Hader faced 10 Cubs hitters in the two Milwaukee victories. He struck out nine and gave up a base hit. In fact, according to Elias, going back to his past three appearances, Hader is the fourth pitcher in the past three seasons to strike out at least nine in a row. He was electric, sucking the life out of the Cubs and the Wrigley Field faithful.

“He’s hard because the way he throws,” Javier Baez said, stating the obvious. “It’s tough to catch up.”

It doesn’t help that the Cubs are about as fatigued as a team can be right now. After Wednesday night’s 5-1 loss, they were packing their bags for an overnight flight to Washington, where — weather permitting — they’ll play a makeup game with the Nationals before coming right back to Chicago for a weekend series against the Cincinnati Reds. Then comes a quick trip two time zones west for three games against Arizona before another overnight flight home and finally — after 30 straight days at the ballpark — a day off.nfl jerseys nike cheap

The stretch might be one reason the Cubs aren’t scoring. Even all-world hitter Daniel Murphy is in a slump. He was 0-for-11 in the series against Milwaukee.2

“I got my teeth kicked in,” he said.

The same can be said for the entire offense, as well as the Chicago bullpen. The hold the Cubs have had on the division feels like it’s slipping away. And the Brewers are ready to pounce.

“The games have been tight, especially the games here at Wrigley,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said earlier Wednesday. “For me, it’s two good teams battling each other. It’s what you would expect.”

Right now the Brewers have an edge, particularly in the form of Hader. A best-of-five playoff series with two off-days built in would give Counsell the chance to max out the lefty. If the Cubs and Brewers end up meeting in October, there could be a changing of the guard, just as there was in 2015, when the Cubs took what the St. Louis Cardinals had owned for so long: division supremacy.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

“That’s a really good team over there,” Hendricks said. “They’ve been playing us close between last year and this one. They’re our biggest rival for sure at this time.”