Series Preview: Cubs vs Braves

 

After a brutal 8 game stretch in which the Braves lost 7 games, Atlanta may be catching a breather as the Chicago Cubs come to town to close out the homestand.  The Braves are desperate to score runs, but more importantly, hit with men already on base.

Chicago currently lies in the basement of the strong NL Central with a record of 12-21, and most of the blame for this is definitely not on their pitching staff.

Game 1:

7:35 PM EST, Friday, May 9th

Probables:  Jason Hammel (4-1, 2.43 ERA) vs Julio Teheran (2-2, 1.80 ERA)

Game 2:

7:10 PM EST, Saturday, May 10th

Probables:  Jeff Samardzija (0-3, 1.62) vs Ervin Santana (3-0, 2.41 ERA)

Game 3:

1:35 PM EST, Sunday, May 11th

Probables:  Edwin Jackson (2-2, 4.57 ERA) vs Alex Wood (2-5, 3.00 ERA)

 

 

Winning With Their Bear Arms:

The Cubs are essentially in the same boat as Atlanta in the early going.  They lack some of the more elite potential that the Braves have, but an under performing offense is the death of this Cubs team, and their record does their pitching absolutely no justice.  Shark (Samardzija), Travis Wood, and Edwin Jackson have all posted FIP’s in the low 3′s, and despite a 3.77 FIP for Jason Hammel, he has a ridiculous .811 WHIP.  The Cubs rotation will come out swinging.

The same can not be said for their bullpen however.  Hector Rondon has been great in his closers role, but the quality bullpen performances pretty much stop there.  Wesley Wright has been impressive in limited action, but most other members of the bullpen seem to walk too many batters.  The numbers are very clear as to why the Cubs have already used 13 different relievers already, and it’s only May 9th.

Bearly Hitting:

The Cubs currently sport 4 hitters who currently have a sub .300 OBP.  Anyone not named Anthony Rizzo, who seems to finally be putting it together, and Emilio Bonifacio is currently enduring a rough time.  Mike Olt has put on display some of his power that made him such a hot name in the Texas organization, but is ultimately getting on base at just a .259 clip.  This team lives or dies by the longball, and Julio Teheran and company shouldn’t have too much of a problem holding down this Chicago offense.

Atlanta still has some work to do on offense, but this series could be a warmup to right the ship before the team heads out to play the Giants and Cardinals once again.

 

**Sorry for all the bear puns.

 

 

 

 

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