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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Braves series preview

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The Cubs are coming off a big sweep of the Pirates. Can they keep the winning going?

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs swept the Braves in Atlanta last month and outscored them 17-6 and are coming off a sweep of the Pirates. Can they keep this going? I asked Kris Willis, manager of our SB Nation Braves site Talking Chop, to update us on his team.

The Braves reached the .500 mark for the season back on July 16 and then immediately suffered a three-game sweep at home to the Cubs. Since reaching the .500 mark they have gone 14-27, so naturally the focus has returned to the rebuild and for what the team might look like in 2018. Several things have changed since that Cubs series. The Freddie Freeman third base experiment has ended. Dansby Swanson is once again the everyday shortstop after a brief trip to the minors and top prospect Ozzie Albies is now the fulltime second baseman with Brandon Phillips shifting over to third.

As was the case in July, Atlanta's pitching staff has been their biggest question mark. The starting rotation has been inconsistent and the bullpen is overworked and has struggled of late. September roster expansion comes at a good time as the Braves should be adding a few more bullpen options to the mix soon.

While the Cubs are closing in on another trip to the playoffs, the Braves are focused on the future and evaluating players that could be a part of their next playoff caliber roster.

Fun fact (not so fun for the Braves, though)

The Braves swept the Diamondbacks right after the All-Star break and were 45-45 entering last month’s series vs. the Cubs, the only time since April 17 they’ve been at .500 this year. As noted above, the Braves are 14-27 since then, tied for the worst record in baseball over that span with the White Sox.

Pitching matchups

Thursday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (5-4, 3.45 ERA, 1.239 WHIP, 4.04 FIP) vs. Sean Newcomb, LHP (2-7, 4.36 ERA, 1.547 WHIP, 4.85 FIP)

Friday: John Lackey, RHP (10-10, 4.98 ERA, 1.348 WHIP, 5.48 FIP) vs. Mike Foltynewicz, RHP (10-10, 4.84 ERA, 1.511 WHIP, 4.41 FIP)

Saturday: Jon Lester, LHP (8-7, 4.37 ERA, 1.274 WHIP, 3.78 FIP) vs. Lucas Sims, RHP (2-3, 4.41 ERA, 1.356 WHIP, 4.86 FIP)

Sunday: Mike Montgomery, LHP (5-6, 3.29 ERA, 1.244 WHIP, 4.10 FIP) vs. R.A. Dickey, RHP (9-8, 3.91 ERA, 1.373 WHIP, 4.70 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Thursday: 7:05 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago

Friday: 1:20 p.m. CT, WGN, MLB Network (outside Chicago and Atlanta markets)

Saturday: 1:20 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago

Sunday: 1:20 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago

Prediction

Even though the Cubs swept the Braves in Atlanta and the Braves have been horrid since then and are 30-36 on the road, sweeping four-game series is really hard. So I’ll say the Cubs will win three out of four.

Up next

The Cubs travel to Pittsburgh for a four-game series against the Pirates beginning Monday afternoon.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Braves?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    4
    (45 votes)
  • 56%
    3
    (121 votes)
  • 18%
    2
    (41 votes)
  • 2%
    1
    (6 votes)
  • 1%
    0
    (3 votes)
216 votes total Vote Now