Brewers-Cubs: Series Preview

Jerome HarrisonContributor IApril 9, 2009

Finally, the baseball season is back! And for you Brewers fans out there, there isn't much more of an exciting start to the season than their second three game series against the NL central favorites, the Chicago Cubs.

After splitting two games with the Giants to start the season off, the series finale is scheduled for tonight.

The Brewers will return home for the first two games against the Cubs on Friday and Saturday and then travel to the Windy City to finish the series on Sunday. This series should be an exciting preview for fans to judge just how close of a race the NL central might be.

There isn't much change in the Brewers batting lineup between '08 and '09. However, it isn't the offense that Brewers fans should be worried about.

The Brewers pitching is in rough shape due to the departure of CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets. Replacing them will be no easy feat for the newly acquired Braden Looper and returning Brewer Yovani Gallardo. Looper will hopefully add another inning-eating pitcher to the Brewers lineup; fans should expect his games to be quite similiar to Suppan's.

However, Yovani Gallardo is another story.

While only playing a total of six games last season, many Brewers fans aren't too worried about the "health risks" that are associated with Gallardo. After a late start last season due to cartilage problems in his left knee, he tore the ACL in his right knee on May 1 of last season while avoiding a collision, which caused him to miss most of the season.

The entire '08 season was full of bad luck for Gallardo. Gallardo started off the Brewer's '09 season pitching against the Giants. He pitched six innings and gave up two runs and six hits.

Many fans have high hopes that this young pitcher could become the Brewer's next ace. With a projected 30+ starts in the '09 season, many see him breaking the top 25 starter list.

While the Brewer's offense should perform just as well as they did last year, their pitchers must perform in order for the Brewers to keep pace in the NL central. However, the Cubs, Cardinals, and Reds are all favored to place above the Brewers in the '09 season according to and several nation-wide polls.

But with the help of a couple of returning x-factors like Gallardo and Chris Carpenter (RHP Cardnials), don't be too surprised if the race for the NL central turns out to be much closer than expected.

Prediction: The Brewers go 1-for-3 against the Cubs in the upcoming weekend series. Don't worry Brewers fans! It's still early and the Brewers have a lot of room for improvement.