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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Braves series preview

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Well, this is different. A series in two cities.

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Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Since the Cubs are playing the same team four days in a row, I’m looking at this as a four-game series, even though one of the games is a rainout makeup (from April 15) being played at Wrigley Field, and the remaining three in Atlanta. After Thursday, the Cubs and Braves say farewell for 2018, unless somehow the teams meet in the postseason. That’s not such an absurd statement now as it might have seemed earlier this year; the Braves have played good ball early on. I don’t think they can remain atop the National League East, but they might be a wild-card contender. We’ll see.

The fact that the Braves and Cubs are done for the regular season this week means that after Thursday, 41 games into the season, the Cubs will have completed their 2018 regular-season competition with three teams: the Braves, Marlins and Rockies.

I asked Kris Willis, manager of our SB Nation Braves site Talking Chop, to give us a brief update on his team.

It is the middle of May and a quick check of the standings shows that the Atlanta Braves are in first place in the National League East standings. Whether they can sustain that or not over the full season remains to be seen but what they have is an exciting club that is young and should only get better. One interesting trend to watch is that the Braves have played a heavy road schedule early and have performed well. Atlanta has already played 24 games away from SunTrust Park and have gone 16-8 in those games which ties them for the N.L. lead in road victories.

While Freddie Freeman is still Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies has emerged as a catalyst for the Braves’ offense. He is second in the National League with 12 home runs while hitting .267/.304/.564. Albies is exceeding expectations and is looking like he could be an All-Star level contributor for a long time.

Fun fact

Since the beginning of 2015, the Cubs are 16-6 against the Braves. By ballpark: 9-4 at Wrigley, 4-2 at Turner Field, 3-0 at SunTrust Park (the latter, a sweep last July.)

Pitching matchups

Monday: Jose Quintana, LHP (4-2, 4.42 ERA, 1.473 WHIP, 4.31 FIP) vs. Julio Teheran, RHP (3-1, 3.14 ERA, 1.163 WHP, 4.35 FIP)

Tuesday: Yu Darvish, RHP (0-3, 6.00 ERA, 1.567 WHIP, 5.10 FIP) vs. Mike Foltynewicz, RHP (3-2, 3.21 ERA, 1.310 WHIP, 3.58 FIP)

Wednesday: Tyler Chatwood, RHP (3-3, 3.35 ERA, 1.540 WHIP, 4.18 FIP) vs. Brandon McCarthy, RHP (4-2, 5.58 ERA, 1.711 WHIP, 5.03 FIP)

Thursday: Jon Lester, LHP (3-1, 2.66 ERA, 1.318 WHIP, 4.56 FIP) vs. Mike Soroka, RHP (1-1, 3.68 ERA, 1.705 WHIP, 2.81 FIP)

Times, locations & TV channels

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

Tuesday: 6:35 p.m. CT, SunTrust Park, NBC Sports Chicago Plus

Wednesday: 6:35 p.m. CT, SunTrust Park, WGN

Thursday: 6:35 p.m. CT, SunTrust Park, WGN, MLB Network (outside Chicago and Atlanta markets)

Prediction

These teams split a pair of games at Wrigley in April in weather conditions more fit for polar bears than baseball players, so that’s really not a good indication of how these teams might do in warmer conditions.

This might be: As noted above, the Braves are 16-8 on the road, 8-7 at home. The Cubs are hot right now (despite Sunday’s loss), so I’ll say they will take three of four.

Up next

The Cubs travel to Cincinnati for a four-game series against the Reds beginning Friday evening. This includes a split doubleheader Saturday, with one of the games a makeup for the April 3 rainout.


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Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Braves?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    4
    (18 votes)
  • 28%
    3
    (69 votes)
  • 48%
    2
    (119 votes)
  • 8%
    1
    (21 votes)
  • 6%
    0
    (16 votes)
243 votes total Vote Now