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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Braves series preview

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The Braves are going to be a better team this year. Here’s a look at how their rebuild is going.

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

First, let’s note that the weather forecast is pretty awful for this entire weekend, with rain possibly changing to snow by late Sunday. Ugh. It looks like Friday’s game will be played without too much trouble with the weather, but Saturday and Sunday both look like possible postponements.

Now, on to the baseball portion of this series preview.

The Braves are in the midst of a rebuild, but have gotten off to a good start this season, with a 7-5 record, currently standing second in the National League East.

I asked Kris Willis, manager of our SB Nation Braves site Talking Chop, to tell us more about what’s going on with the Braves.

The 2018 version of the Atlanta Braves is quite a bit different from the team they had last year. Instead of plugging holes with stop gap veterans, this is a team that is largely made up of home grown talent. With Atlanta’s rebuild centered on minor league pitching, more young players are moving their way towards the Major League level and the Braves are a team that will likely get younger as the season progresses.

Ozzie Albies and Dansby Swanson are off to good starts and entrenched in the middle infield. Top prospect Ronald Acuna could join the team as soon as Saturday although it appears no final determination on his arrival has been made. At some point in 2018, expect him to take over in left field and become a regular in the lineup.

The 2018 Braves look to be an improved product. They won their first three series of the season before dropping two of three in Washington earlier this week. True contention might be a year away but the team is treating this season as one to identify which young players can be part of its core going forward. With a ton of salary coming off the books at the end of the season, Atlanta will have money to spend and prospect capital available to fill holes on the major league roster. For now however, this is a young fun team that is likely to improve as the season moves along.

Fun fact

Since the Cubs returned to contention in 2015, they are 15-5 against the Braves, including 8-2 at Wrigley Field. Last year, the Cubs swept the three-game set between the two teams in Atlanta and took three of four at Wrigley.

Pitching matchups

Friday: Yu Darvish, RHP (0-0, 5.23 ERA, 0.968 WHIP, 4.45 FIP) vs. Anibal Sanchez, RHP (0-0, 2.25 ERA, 1.625 WHIP, 4.50 FIP)

Saturday: Jose Quintana, LHP (1-1, 4.50 ERA, 1.250 WHIP, 3.17 FIP) vs. Sean Newcomb, LHP (1-1, 4.35 ERA, 1.355 WHIP, 2.52 FIP)

Sunday: Tyler Chatwood, RHP (0-2, 4.91 ERA, 1.818 WHIP, 4.09 FIP) vs. Julio Teheran, RHP (0-1, 7.07 ERA, 1.786 WHIP, 7.36 FIP)

Times & TV channels

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

Saturday: 1:20 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago

Sunday: 1:20 p.m. CT, WGN

Prediction

These pitching matchups are all over the place, and of course the numbers are small sample sizes. But this Cubs team should be good enough to take two of three from the visitors from Atlanta.

Up next

The Cubs host the Cardinals in a three-game series at Wrigley Field beginning Monday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Braves?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    3
    (35 votes)
  • 47%
    2
    (81 votes)
  • 23%
    1
    (41 votes)
  • 8%
    0
    (14 votes)
171 votes total Vote Now