Why The Cubs-Brewers Rivalry Is Better Than The Cubs-Cardinals Rivalry

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Why The Cubs-Brewers Rivalry Is Better Than The Cubs-Cardinals Rivalry

AJ Shaw, Sports Editor

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This past weekend, the Chicago Cubs took on the Milwaukee Brewers in a big four game series for postseason positioning.

While the Brewers look to be out of playoff contention and the Cubs have had an inconsistent season in which they trail St. Louis by 4.5 games in the NL Central, no matter where these two teams sit record-wise, the Cubs-Brewers rivalry is always going to have memorable moments for both sides.

To me, this rivalry is more exciting then the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry. While that historically has been the superior rivalry compared to Cubs-Brewers, it has always been very one-sided. When it comes to Cubs-Brewers, both teams tend to be evenly matched.

What has happened over the past two seasons between these two teams has been a testament to the rivalry’s superiority.

In 2017 and 2018, Cubs and Brewers fans were on the edge of their seats throughout the final weeks of the season as both teams battled for the National League Central division title, something the Cubs did in 2017 and the Brewers did in 2018.

The great memories from the series of games played by these two teams were fun and memorable. In 2017, the Cubs entered Milwaukee for a four-game series in late September with a 3.5 game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central. They knew that if they could win the series over the Crew, they could pretty much wrap the division title up.

However, the Brewers would not go lightly in this series, as they were looking to stay in the postseason race and continue to roll through the Cubs after they swept them at Wrigley Field earlier in the month.

The series was a thriller, as the first three games went into extra innings. In the first game, the Cubs lead 2-0, but the Brewers took a 3-2 lead into the ninth before Javier Baez tied the game with an RBI single to center. Wade Davis escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom half to send the game into extras.

In the tenth, after Jon Jay doubled, Kris Bryant launched a two run homer to right-center and the Cubs won 5-3. The next night, the Cubs fell behind 3-0 but forced a 4-4 tie into extras. Tommy La Stella drew a bases loaded walk to lead the Cubs to victory, 5-4. 

While the Cubs did lose the next game on a Travis Shaw walk off home run in the tenth, the Cubs were able to win the series the following day as Jose Quintana pitched a three-hit shutout in a 5-0 Cubs win to give them a 5.5 game lead in the division. Three days later, the Cubs clinched the division title. St. Louis and Milwaukee were eventually eliminated from playoff contention the next week.

In 2018, the two teams once again were battling for the division title throughout the season, but the Cubs caught fire in late August and took a 5 game lead over Milwaukee. In early September, both teams met back at Miller Park in a huge three game series. 

The two teams engaged in a back and forth affair in Game 1 of the series. The Cubs took a 3-2 lead in the eighth on a clutch two run home run from Anthony Rizzo off Josh Hader, but Milwaukee tied the game in the eighth and then in the ninth, Christian Yelich, the eventual MVP of the NL, won it for Milwaukee by beating out a ground ball in the ninth to give Milwaukee the win. 

The Brewers won the series, took 2 out of 3 from the Cubs at Wrigley the following week, and continued to roll until the end of the regular season while the Cubs started to falter. On September 30th, the Brewers and Cubs both won and sat tied atop the NL Central, forcing a 163rd game to determine the division winner.

The game was played at Wrigley Field, as both teams battled through a 1-1 tie heading into the eighth inning. Key RBI singles by Lorenzo Cain and Ryan Braun lead Milwaukee to a 3-1 victory and a division title for the first time since 2011. The Cubs made the Wild Card, but were beat by Colorado the following night, ending their season.

Those moments are just some of the most memorable between these two teams. Even when both teams are not in contention, the matchups are still thrilling battles between both clubs, each team wanting to beat each other no matter the cost.

That is what makes it a rivalry and what makes it more exciting than Cubs-Cardinals.

And sure, you can argue that Milwaukee’s fan support has not been great in their home ballpark and how that gives the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry an advantage because of the fan support, but when it comes down to baseball, the Cubs-Brewers rivalry is one of the most exciting rivalries in the game.

 

Writer’s Note:

I decided because I didn’t cover all the great memories between these two teams, I figured I would leave some clips down below as well as moments I discussed to give you some visuals from this rivalry. I hope you enjoy! All clips shown belong to MLB and MLB Advanced Media.

 

Sammy Sosa 62nd Home Run: 1998

Brant Brown Play: 1998

Mark Bellhorn Two Homers In One Inning: 2002

Aramis Ramirez Walk-Off Home Run: 2007

Kosuke Fukudome First MLB Homer: 2008

Ryan Braun Two-Run Home Run On Final Day in 2008:

CC Sabathia Complete Game in 2008:

Jean Segura Steals 1st Base: 2013

Miguel Montero Home Run: 2016

 

Kris Bryant Home Run: 2017

Travis Shaw Home Run: 2017

Jose Quintana Shutout: 2017

Lorenzo Cain Baserunning: 2018

Rizzo HR off Hader: 2018

Yelich Walk-Off: 2018

Game 163: 2018

Brewers Comeback vs. Kimbrel: 2019