Series Preview: Cubs at Braves, May 14 - May 17, 2018

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Series Preview: Cubs at Braves, May 14 – May 17, 2018

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs are actually heading to Atlanta to take on the first-place Braves in three starting tomorrow, but before they get there, they’re making up an early-season rainout at Wrigley Field today. So, for the purposes of this Series Preview, we’ll just treat this like a four-game series, the first of which is at home.

And if you haven’t been paying attention to the Braves this year, forget what you thought you knew. They’ve actually been surprisingly and credibly good. In other words, they’re not just getting lucky, as their first-place record is buoyed by the second best run differential in the National League. It’ll be a tough four games.

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (21-16) couldn’t push their winning streak to six games yesterday, but they’ve won back-to-back series after losing five in a row and are just one game behind the first place Brewers.

The Atlanta Braves (24-15) have won two in a row, and are in first place in the NL East, but are fending off a rising Washington Nationals team, who’ve won four in a row themselves. The Braves might not be this good all season, but as of now, they are killing it.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

  • Monday, May 14 at 1:20 CT on WGN, MLBN (out-of-market only), 670 The Score
  • Tuesday, May 15 at 6:35 on NBC Sports Chicago+, 670 The Score
  • Wednesday, May 16 at 6:35 on WGN, 670 The Score
  • Thursday May 17 at 6:35 on WGN, MLBN (out-of-market only), 670 The Score

Chicago Cubs

Probable Pitchers:

  • Jose Quintana (4.42 ERA, 4.29 FIP; 1.78 K/BB)
  • Yu Darvish (6.00 ERA, 5.08 FIP; 4.12 K/BB)
  • Tyler Chatwood (3.35 ERA, 4.18 FIP; 1.19 K/BB)
  • Jon Lester (2.66 ERA, 4.56 FIP; 1.02 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

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

*Jason Heyward is on the 7-day concussion DL

Atlanta Braves

Probable Pitchers:

  • Julio Teheran (3.14 ERA, 4.33 FIP; 2.33 K/BB)
  • Mike Foltynewicz (3.21 ERA, 3.58 FIP; 2.47 K/BB)
  • Brandon McCarthy (5.58 ERA, 5.03 FIP; 2.00 K/BB)
  • Mike Soroka (3.68 ERA, 2.81 FIP; 3.75 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Tyler Flowers
  • 1B – Freddie Freeman
  • 2B – Ozzie Albies
  • 3B – Jose Bautista
  • SS – Johan Carmargo*
  • LF – Ronald Acuna Jr.
  • CF – Ender Inciarte
  • RF – Nick Markakis

*Dansby Swanson is on the 10-day DL, but is eligible to return today.

Keep an Eye Out For …

Cubs Pitcher: Yu Darvish is the guy to watch this week, as he makes his return from the flu on Tuesday. Hopefully, he’s 100% himself, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some depressed velocity as he gains his strength back, depending on how serious his infection was.

Cubs Player: Anthony Rizzo might just be one of many Cubs heating up lately, but he’s been one of the loudest. He’s currently working on a four-game hitting streak, during which he’s hit two homers and two doubles, knocked in nine runs, and scored six of his own. In the month of May, Rizzo is hitting .342/.381/.789 (208 wRC+).

Braves PitcherJulio Teheran might never not interest me. He’s long been one of the most promising young pitchers who hasn’t *entirely* put it all together. Don’t get me wrong, he’s had three seasons over 2.5 WAR, but it sure seems like he’s capable of much more than that. Hopefully, he doesn’t fulfill his promise this week.

Braves Player: Nick Markakis is somehow the best offensive contributor on the National League’s top run scoring offense. Good for him. Seriously. Markakis is slashing .346/.420/.549 this season and has been the 10th most valuable position player overall. And for good measure, he’s been *particularly* hot lately, as he’s working on a four-game multi-hit streak (eight total hits, including a homer and a double). So, yeah, yikes.

This’ll be a good, but potentially frustrating series.

Author: Michael Cerami

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