The Cubs’ restocking of organizational pitching depth via the addition of college arms (you can totally read about that here) ends later today, but in the meantime, we’ll have baseball this afternoon to hold us over.
And who better to have on the mound today than Jake Arrieta?
The Cubs have lost each of Arrieta’s last two starts, but he has been fabulous (1.80 ERA/2.49 FIP/2.90 xFIP) in 2016 and has been pretty good (1.71 ERA/3.17 FIP/3.18 xFIP) on the road.
Arrieta looks to get back to his winning ways against a Braves team that is slashing .237/.301/.350 with a .284 wOBA in the last 30 days. He last faced the Braves on July 19, 2015, tossing seven shutout innings while dealing 10 strikeouts and allowing only three hits and three walks in a 4-1 Cubs win.
The Braves counter with second-year right-hander Matt Wisler, who owns a 3.98 ERA/4.23 FIP/4.76 xFIP. He’s been roughed up a bit in his last three starts, pitching to a 7.41 ERA/5.77 FIP/4.44 xFIP. Wisler has yielded a 40.9 hard hit rate to go along with a 21.5 K% and 6.9 BB%, so his struggles have been going on for about a month now.
Atlanta Braves (18-42) at Chicago Cubs (41-18), 3:10 CT on CSN and MLB Network, 670 The Score.
Game Thread and Series Preview
Your game thread can be found in the comments. It’s Saturday afternoon baseball, so enjoy yourself.
Cubs: Jake Arrieta (R): 1.80 ERA, 2.49 FIP, 2.90 xFIP; 3.35 K/BB
Braves: Matt Wisler (R): 3.98 ERA, 4.23 FIP, 4.76 xFIP; 2.65 K/BB
Atlanta Braves Lineup:
1. Ender Inciarte, CF
2. Chase d’Arnaud, SS
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Nick Markakis, RF
5. Adonis Garcia, 3B
6. A.J. Pierzynski, C
7. Jace Peterson, 2B
8. Matt Wisler, P
9. Mallex Smith, LF
Naturally, A.J. Pierzynski is the Braves hitter who gives Arrieta the most fits. He has eight hits (two of which were home runs) in 16 career late appearances against Arrieta. Take out Pierzynski’s eight hits in 14 at bats, the rest of the Braves lineup is collectively hitting .191 (9-for-47) against Arrieta.
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Jason Heyward, RF
3. Kris Bryant, 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
5. Ben Zobrist, 2B
6. Chris Coghlan, LF
7. Miguel Montero, C
8. Addison Russell, SS
9. Jake Arrieta, P
Perhaps Chris Coghlan’s ride toward a progression to the mean begins today against Wisler, who yielded a 39.4 percent hard-hit rate in May — the seventh highest percentage in baseball last month.