It’s still April, which means any snapshot of the standings is likely to be rendered somewhat meaningless by the end of the season. The sample size just isn’t big enough to have predictive numbers baked in yet.
But sometimes early season events can just be fun in a vacuum, even if they’re not portending future results. And that’s what we got today, as the Cubs shut out the Brewers, 2-0, to complete a four-game sweep of their divisional rival. But what made the sweep special was the Cubs pitching and defense, and the Milwaukee offense, or lack thereof; over the four games, the Brewers scored just two runs, both in a 3-2 loss on Friday. Three shutouts in four games is something, but it’s even more impressive when you tack on the two shutouts from earlier in the year.
That’s five times already, in just eight games.
#Cubs have allowed 9 runs in 8 games vs Brewers this season.
5 shutout wins vs Brewers this season is most by Cubs in a season vs a single opponent since they shut out the Mets 5 times in 1973
— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) April 29, 2018
This weekend’s series was close; the Cubs won all four games by a collective five run margin. The Cubs are also now 7-1 against Milwaukee; take away their games against the Brewers and their record is just 8-9. But again, that’s still in the small sample size part of the discussion; there are a ton of factors in play for the rest of the season that will end up determining whether the Cubs end up winning the NL Central for the third consecutive year.
But for a Brewers team that considered themselves contenders, it’s a tough way to start the campaign.
#Cubs complete four-game sweep of Cactus League champs.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 29, 2018
The NL Central has, in the early stages of the season, looked to be one of the better divisions; only the Reds are under .500, while the Pirates have had a surprisingly hot start. Again, these things are likely to regress further, but no matter what happens, the Cubs will still have these five shutouts. The two teams still have eleven games remaining, too, so that number could grow.