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Chicago Cubs at Atlanta Braves
When and Where: Wednesday, May 16 at 7:35 p.m. ET at SunTrust Park in Cumberland Park, GA
The Cubs have lost two straight games after winning five games in a row. Chicago sits two games back of the first place in the NL Central. Atlanta, on the other hand, has won six of its previous seven games, including Game 1 of the series against the Cubs. The Braves have been one of the most surprising teams in baseball, leading the NL East by 1.5 games entering Tuesday night.
The Cubs are fourth in baseball in runs scored. They have been terrific offensively this year, posting a .431 slugging percentage, good for sixth in the majors. Kris Bryant has been the most consistent batter, posting a .287 batting average. Bryant only has one hit over Chicago’s previous three games entering Tuesday night, but it scored two runs Monday against the Braves. Ben Zobrist has been solid, especially in the absence of Jason Heyward who has a concussion. Zobrist is batting .286 in 91 at-bats.
Tyler Chatwood has posted a 3.35 ERA and a 3-3 record this season in seven starts. Chatwood has allowed five total earned runs in his last two starts combined after allowing a total of three earned runs combined in his previous three starts. The righty has had some really nice moments, including a two-hitter in seven innings against the Brewers last month. He’ll have a challenge against the upstart Braves offense.
Maintaining First Place
The Braves have been a pleasant surprise this year, especially with the play of Ozzie Albies. Albies homered in Atlanta’s win over Chicago the other night. He’s batting .279 with 13 home runs ad 31 RBIs in 179 at-bats entering Tuesday night. Outside of Albies, the Braves have received great contributions from Nick Markakis and Freddie Freeman. Freeman has been the Braves best player over the past several years, especially when Atlanta struggled to win games. Now that Atlanta is building a winner, it’s good to see Freeman’s ability to contribute. He’s batting .322 with eight home runs.
Brandon McCarthy will get the nod for the Braves Wednesday night. He enters the start coming off back-to-back difficult starts. McCarthy allowed 14 total earned runs over his previous two starts combined. He needs to bounce back in a big way, but unfortunately, he has a challenging match-up in Chicago. The Cubs have capable batters throughout their line-up. McCarthy is 4-2 with a 5.58 ERA. He’s been lucky to have solid run support during his starts. It wouldn’t be a shock if that continues.
- Cubs are 2-7 in their last 9 games after losing the first 2 games of a series.
- Cubs are 0-4 in their last 4 road games.
- Cubs are 0-5 in their last 5 vs. a team with a winning record.
- Cubs are 0-4 in their last 4 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Braves are 6-0 in their last 6 Wednesday games.
- Braves are 10-1 in their last 11 during game 3 of a series.
- Braves are 6-1 in their last 7 overall.
- Braves are 4-0 in McCarthy’s last 4 starts during game 3 of a series.
- Braves are 4-1 in McCarthy’s last 5 starts vs. a team with a winning record.
This should be a highly competitive match-up. Neither pitcher has pitched incredibly well in their most recent starts. Both offenses have been great this year, fully capable of having big-time performances. Look for the Braves to continue their hot play Wednesday night.