Series Preview: Braves at Cubs, June 17 - June 19, 2022

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Series Preview: Braves at Cubs, June 17 – June 19, 2022

Chicago Cubs

The party don’t stop, ’cause you’re having a bad time!

After being swept in back-to-back series against the Yankees and Padres, the Cubs are staying at Wrigley Field to face one of the hottest team in MLB, the Atlanta Braves. And they’ll do so with the continued absences of Wade Miley, Drew Smyly, Marcus Stroman, and Seiya Suzuki (there are others, of course, but those are the biggies).

We’re still ten days out from the next scheduled day off, with seven straight against the Pirates (4) and Cardinals (3) coming up after the Braves.

If you’re looking for some new info on what the heck is going on, here’s Jed Hoyer trying his best to explain.

We’re Going Streaking

Never has there been a better use of this section in a Series Preview. The Chicago Cubs (23-40) have lost ten straight games and are tied for the second worst record in the National League. The Atlanta Braves (37-27) have won 14 straight games and are one of the hottest teams in MLB. And as it turns out, that creates a little bit of history.

Hot or Not and What to Watch

Ian Happ is riding a five-game hitting streak and has been blisteringly hot since the middle of May (125 PAs): .303/.376/.560 (152 wRC+). Most impressive part of that stretch? Happ has been hitting for power (.257 ISO) while keeping his strikeout rate down at 18.4%. His power was absent at the start of the year as he adjusted to this more contact-oriented approach, but he’s clearly found a balance here lately.

You already know Willson Contreras is hot, but let’s just pick a fun stretch for some wacky numbers. Since May 30 (last 71 PAs), he’s slashing .322/.437/.695 (209 wRC+). He is, uh … very good.

Aften 10 scoreless outings to start the season (0.00 ERA in 11.0 IP), David Robertson has allowed 5ER in his last 12.2 IP (3.55 ERA). The strikeout rate in that period (30.4%) is still very solid, but the walks have crept up (10.7%). That said, he’s still inducing a ton of ground balls and weak contact overall, so I don’t think there’s much cause for concern.

Dansby Swanson has had a really strong two weeks, slashing .388/.455/.612 with three homers and 11 RBI in 12 games. Michael Harris II (169 wRC+) and Adam Duvall (185 wRC+) are feeling the heat, as well.

Game Times and Broadcast Info

  • Friday, June 16 at 1:20 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
  • Saturday, June 17 at 1:20 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
  • Sunday, June 18 at 1:20 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score

Pitching Probables

Game 1: Charlie Morton (RHP) vs. Keegan Thompson (R)
Game 2: Kyle Wright (RHP) vs. Justin Steele (L)
Game 3: Ian Anderson (R) vs. Kyle Hendricks (R)

Chicago Cubs:

  • C – Willson Contreras
  • 1B – Frank Schwindel
  • 2B – Jonathan Villar
  • 3B – Patrick Wisdom
  • SS – Nico Hoerner
  • LF – Ian Happ
  • CF – Christopher Morel
  • RF – Jason Heyward
  • DH – Rafael Ortega

Injured/Unavailable: Michael Hermosillo, Seiya Suzuki, Nick Madrigal, Drew Smyly, Marcus Stroman, Wade Miley, David Bote, Adbert Alzolay, Brad Wieck, Codi Heuer, Manuel Rodriguez, Ethan Roberts

Atlanta Braves:

  • C – William Contreras
  • 1B – Matt Olson
  • 2B – Orlando Arcia
  • 3B – Austin Riley
  • SS – Dansby Swanson
  • LF – Adam Duvall
  • CF – Michael Harris II
  • RF – Ronald Acuña Jr.
  • DH – Marcell Ozuna

Injured/Unavailable: Collin McHugh, Eddie Rosario, Tyler Matzek, Kirby Yates, Mike Soroka, Jay Jackson, Luke Jackson, Manny Piña, Ozzie Albies

By the Numbers

Run Differential:
Cubs: -68
Braves: +44

Runs Scored Per Game:
Cubs: 4.25
Braves: 4.81

Runs Allowed Per Game:
Cubs: 5.33
Braves: 4.13

Author: Michael Cerami

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