Series Preview: Braves at Cubs, April 13 - April 15, 2018

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Series Preview: Braves at Cubs, April 13 – April 15, 2018

Chicago Cubs

Although going to three straight Cubs games this week was a blast, I’m actually looking forward to catching this particular one from the couch. And it’s not just about getting comfy – watching baseball on TV makes analyzing the games a lot easier, particularly for pitchers – and I can’t wait to get another close look at Yu Darvish later today.

Hopefully, he can cruise through the Braves lineup like the stud that he is, but it’s worth pointing out that they’re scoring the second most runs per game in the National League right now (behind only the Pirates, naturally). In other words, it probably won’t be as easy as it should be. When you’re hot, you’re hot.

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (6-6) were not able to get the series win against the Pirates this week and they’ve flirted with .500 all year. Hopefully, against a weaker Braves team, they can hit the gas and create some separation from their even record.

The Atlanta Braves (7-5) may not be destined to win their division, but they’re playing well (5.67 runs scored per game is fourth best in baseball, 2nd in the NL) and still have exciting prospects to call up before the year is over.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

  • Friday, April 13 at 1:20 CT on NBC Sports Chicago, MLBN (out-of-market only), 670 The Score, WRTO 1200
  • Saturday, April 14 at 1:20 on NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score
  • Sunday, April 15 at 1:20 on WGN, 670 The Score

Chicago Cubs

Probable Pitchers:

  • Yu Darvish (5.23 ERA, 4.48 FIP; 4.33 K/BB)
  • Jose Quintana (4.50 ERA, 3.20 FIP; 1.33 K/BB)
  • Tyler Chatwood (4.91 ERA, 4.12 FIP; 1.57 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Willson Contreras
  • 1B – Victor Caratini/Ben Zobrist
  • 2B – Javy Baez
  • 3B – Kris Bryant
  • SS – Addison Russell
  • LF – Kyle Schwarber
  • CF – Ian Happ/Albert Almora/Jason Heyward
  • RF – Jason Heyward/Ben Zobrist

*Anthony Rizzo is on the disabled list and is not eligible to return this series.

Atlanta Braves

Probable Pitchers:

  • Anibal Sanchez (2.25 ERA, 4.53 FIP; 1.60 K/BB)
  • Sean Newcomb (4.35 ERA, 2.55 FIP; 3.75 K/BB)
  • Julio Teheran (7.07 ERA, 7.39 FIP; 1.20 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Kurt Suzuki
  • 1B – Freddie Freeman
  • 2B – Ozzie Albies
  • 3B – Rio Ruiz
  • SS – Dansby Swanson
  • LF – Preston Tucker
  • CF – Ender Inciarte
  • RF – Nick Markakis

Keep an Eye Out For …

Cubs Pitcher: Justin Wilson had one bummer of a game yesterday, walking three and giving up two homers, while recording just two outs. What’s worse is the outing prior, against the Brewers, he went through three straight batters with two strikeouts and a fly out, continuing a trend of success in the early going. Hopefully, Wilson gets right back out there in a tough spot this weekend, because, for relievers, that’s the best cure for a blowup. Well, sometimes. Unless they blow up again.

Cubs Player: Kyle Schwarber had a big game yesterday, which means his slash line for the season is now an excellent .270/.357/.595. Meanwhile, his 11.9% walk rate and 40% hard-hit rate look mighty good next to a *ding-ding-ding-ding* 28.6% strikeout rate. Can he maintain this current level of production (155 wRC+) throughout the entire year? I think he can.

Braves PitcherJulio Teheran’s season stats may not look great, but that’s mostly because of a disastrous second start of the season against the Nationals (2.1 IP, 6H, 5ER, 3BB, 2Ks), wherein he allowed three homers in less than three innings, but he’s better than that. In fact, his very next start also came against the Nationals, and he went 6.0 innings in that one, allowing just two earned runs while striking out seven. He’s no lock to dominate, but he has it in him. Don’t start underestimating him now.

Braves PlayerFreddie Freeman is off to his usual, dominating nonsense, with a .325/.518/.625 slash line that matches Bryce Harper with a 207 wRC+. And if you can believe this, he’s currently walking (28.6%) exactly TWICE as much as he’s striking out (14.3%). Dude’s locked in.

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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami