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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Braves series preview

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This will be a tough series against a very good team.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves swept the Cubs in Atlanta in April, part of that disastrous 2-7 trip that began the season.

The Cubs have played better since then — 40-28, a .588 winning percentage that would equate to a 95-win season.

The Braves, though, are also good, currently inhabiting first place in the N.L. East. For an update on the Braves, here’s Kris Willis, manager of our SB Nation Braves site Talking Chop.

The Braves come into their series in Chicago playing some of their best baseball of the season. Atlanta has climbed to the top of the NL East division thanks in large part to an offensive explosion during the month of June. Ronald Acuña Jr are off to great starts again this season while Josh Donaldson has seemed to find his footing of late as well. Atlanta has a bit of a different look from their first series against the Cubs back in Atlanta. Ender Inciarte is on the injured list and rookie Austin Riley has established himself as the team’s left fielder. Riley has gotten off to a great start at the plate hitting .291/.345/.619 with 12 homers in his first 34 games.

The pitching staff has been a bit of a mixed bag. Mike Soroka has emerged as an All-Star candidate, but the Braves have dealt with some inconsistencies with the rest of the rotation. They are hoping that the addition of Dallas Keuchel will help provide some stability for the rotation. The bullpen remains an area of need but has pitched better of late.

Fun fact

Despite the sweep in Atlanta in April, the Cubs are 18-11 (.621) vs. the Braves since the Cubs’ return to contention in 2015, and 9-5 at Wrigley Field.

Pitching matchups

Monday: Jon Lester, LHP (6-5, 4.13 ERA, 1.349 WHIP, 4.45 FIP) vs. Julio Teheran, RHP (5-5, 3.40 ERA, 1.265 WHIP, 4.35 FIP)

Tuesday: Adbert Alzolay, RHP (1-0, 2.25 ERA, 0.750 WHIP, 5.42 FIP) vs. Max Fried, LHP (8-3, 4.03 ERA, 1.343 WHIP, 3.97 FIP)

Wednesday: Yu Darvish, RHP (2-3, 4.75 ERA, 1.359 WHIP, 5.16 FIP) vs. Dallas Keuchel, LHP (0-1, 5.40 ERA, 1.600 WHIP, 5.77 FIP)

Thursday: Tyler Chatwood, RHP (3-1, 3.69 ERA, 1.487 WHIP, 5.40 FIP) vs. TBD

Times & TV channels

Monday: 7:05 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago

Tuesday: 7:05 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago Plus

Wednesday: 7:05 p.m. CT, WGN, MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Braves market territories)

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

Prediction

First, note the “TBD” for Thursday’s Atlanta starter. That would have been Mike Foltynewicz’ turn, but he was sent to Triple-A after getting pounded Saturday. This article indicates Braves prospect Bryse Wilson could get the call from the minor leagues to start Thursday, though the team has not yet officially announced that.

Beyond that, these teams seem fairly evenly matched. I’m going to call for a split.

Up next

The Cubs travel to Cincinnati for a three-game weekend series against the Reds which begins Friday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Braves?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    4
    (30 votes)
  • 22%
    3
    (73 votes)
  • 47%
    2
    (156 votes)
  • 14%
    1
    (49 votes)
  • 6%
    0
    (21 votes)
329 votes total Vote Now