ATLANTA — Yep... one more trip for me this year, this one for a very important series. I’ll be reporting from Truist Park for the next three games.
The Braves are in a bit of a funk. While they did take three of four from the Nats in Washington over the weekend, since September 3 they’re 10-11 while the Cubs are 10-10.
For more on the Braves, here’s Kris Willis, manager of our SB Nation Braves site Battery Power.
Not much has changed for the Braves since they last saw the Cubs. They have clinched a sixth straight N.L. East title and are closing in on home field advantage throughout the postseason. This postseason will be a little bit of a different dynamic for the club in that they will enter October as the likely favorite.
The Braves have rewritten a lot of the franchise’ offensive records in 2023. They possess a deep lineup top to bottom, but there are a couple of standouts. Ronald Acuña Jr. has put together an MVP caliber season. He joined the 40/40 club Friday in Washington. He is the only player in major league history with 40 home runs and 60 stolen bases. He needs to steal just two more bags to have a 40/70 season.
Matt Olson has settled in nicely in his second season with the Braves. He leads the majors, and set a Braves franchise record with 53 home runs. He also leads the majors with 133 RBI.
As good as this team has been, they aren’t without concerns. Max Fried is back on the injured list due to a blister on his left index finger and won’t pitch again during the regular season. Charlie Morton left Friday’s game after just one inning with a finger issue of his own, and was placed on the 15-day injured list Sunday.
The Cubs won two of three games against the Braves when the teams met at Wrigley Field August 4-6.
Two more victories by the Cubs would win the season series, which they have not done since 2017, when they went 6-1. They have won the series only two other times since 2009: 4-3 in 2012 and 6-1 in 2015.
In all games since 2009, the Cubs are 40-47 against the Braves: 23-23 at home and 17-24 at Atlanta.
(Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)
Probable pitching matchups
Tuesday: Justin Steele, LHP (16-5, 3.00 ERA, 1.167 WHIP, 2.99 FIP) vs. Bryce Elder, RHP (12-4, 3.63 ERA, 1.240 WHIP, 4.41 FIP)
Wednesday: Jameson Taillon, RHP (8-10, 5.05 ERA, 1.309 WHIP, 4.66 FIP) vs. TBD
Thursday: Marcus Stroman, RHP (10-8, 3.88 ERA, 1.248 WHIP, 3.52 FIP) vs. TBD
Times & TV channels
Tuesday: 6:20 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, TBS (outside the Cubs and Braves market territories)
Wednesday: 6:20 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Braves market territories)
Thursday: 6:20 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Braves market territories)
While the Braves are headed for the postseason and likely MLB’s best record, at this time they are unsure who’s going to start the second and third games of this series. Max Fried has been ruled out for the rest of the regular season. Charlie Morton was just placed on the 15-day IL and also won’t throw again until the postseason, if then. Spencer Strider, the Braves’ best pitcher, threw on Sunday. Kris Willis told me that Darius Vines might start one of the games and the other is likely a bullpen game.
As noted above, the Cubs played the Braves well in Chicago in August, losing only to Fried. I believe the Cubs, who absolutely need to win these games, will take two of three.
The Cubs head to Milwaukee for a big regular-season ending three-game set against the Brewers which begins Friday evening.
How many games will the Cubs win against the Braves?
This poll is closed