The Cubs will head to Atlanta to open up the week with a four game set against the Braves. This is a big series for both teams. The Cubs could start to build a lead over the Brewers, and the Braves can increase their comfortable lead in the NL East. The Braves swept the Cubs in a three game series back in April, outscoring them 23-8. The Cubs will be looking to fare better this week.
Game 1: Monday, June 24 | 8:05 PM
Probable Starters: Jon Lester (6-5, 4.13 ERA) vs. Julio Teheran (5-5, 3.40 ERA)
Jon Lester has been up and down so far this season. He did have a start against the Braves in April, going six innings while only giving up two runs. The 35-year-old veteran will have his hands full against a tough Braves lineup tonight. Current Braves hitters have a line of .247/.292/.402 against the Cubs’ south paw.
Julio Teheran had a shaky start to the season, but has posted an ERA of 1.85 throughout May and June. He pitches well against Chicago as current Cubs hit with a line of .186/.289/.331 against him. He will look to continue that trend in tonight’s match-up.
Prediction: Both of these teams can hit, but with Teheran’s career line against the Cubs, it’s hard to go against him. The Braves should win game one 4-3.
Game 2: Tuesday, June 25 | 8:05 PM
Probable Starters: Adbert Alzolay (1-0, 2.25 ERA) vs. Max Fried (8-3, 4.03 ERA)
The Cubs are using a six man rotation this week since they have seven games. Adbert Alzolay will make his first major league start Tuesday night. He made his MLB debut against the Mets on June 20 out of the bullpen where he threw four innings, striking out five while only giving up one run.
Max Fried threw six scoreless innings against the Cubs in his first start of the season. He’s had an average year since, putting him at an ERA of 4.03 at this point. Fried pitches much better at home, with his career ERA being 3.38 at SunTrust Park.
Prediction: Game two will be interesting. It’ll be Alzolay’s first time on the road in the bigs, so it’s hard to tell how he’ll do. The Cubs should take game two 6-3.
Game 3: Wednesday, June 26 | 8:05 PM
Probable Starters: Yu Darvish (2-3, 4.75 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (0-1, 5.40 ERA)
Yu Darvish will have the ball for the Cubs in game three of this set. The 32-year-old hasn’t had a great year, but his stuff is still nasty enough to get almost any hitter out. Current Braves hitters slash .221/.339/.295 against Darvish. He’s given up 21 hits against Braves hitters, and only one went for a home run.
Dallas Keuchel will pitch for his new fan base for the first time on Wednesday night. In his Braves debut, he went five innings, and gave up three runs on eight hits against the Nationals. He appeared to run out of energy pretty quickly, which is expected considering his last MLB start was over eight months ago.
Prediction: Neither starter is too predictible. Both of these guys can go really deep into the game, but they can also both have a very early exit. The Braves should take game three 8-6.
Game 4: Thursday, June 27 | 2:20 PM
Probable Starters: Tyler Chatwood (3-1, 3.69 ERA) vs. TBD
Tyler Chatwood has been coming out of the bullpen for most of this season. He will be starting the final game of the series for the Cubs. He hasn’t pitched well in June, with his ERA being 9.63 through 8 2/3 innings pitched.
Prediction: If Chatwood could start the game hot, the Cubs should take the game 7-2, depending on who pitches for Atlanta.
- Brandon Morrow remains on the IL with an elbow injury. It’s also likely that he will no longer be the closer when he comes back due to the Craig Kimbrel signing.
- Carl Edwards injured his back earlier this season, and will likely be out for another week.
- Kyle Hendricks has shoulder inflammation and won’t be back until at least July.
- Xavier Cedeno didn’t pitch until May this season due to wrist inflammation, but was quickly put back on the IL for the same reason.
- Darren O’Day has not pitched this season because of a sore forearm.
- Ender Inciarte struggled to open the season, and then made matters worse by getting injured on May 14. He will likely be out until the beginning of July.
- Kevin Gausman will be returning soon after a foot injury on June 10.
- After taking a line drive to the head, Sean Newcomb is currently rehabbing with Triple-A Gwinnett.
Feature Image Courtesy of Flip Board.