I guess the Cubs are catching a break by playing the pre-Acuña Barves. They haven't really needed him however, as their offense has scored the second most runs in the NL, behind only the Pirates of all teams. Not surprisingly, Freddie Freeman is leading the way with a .480 wOBA. They're coming off a series loss in DC, their first of the season thus far.
Now that the Cubs are facing another team that did not trade 95% of its roster in the offseason, I'll use the teams' 2017 numbers here instead.
- OBP: Kris Bryant (.409)
- ISO: Ian Happ (.261)
- HR: Anthony Rizzo (32)
- R+RBI: Rizzo (208)
- wRC+: Bryant (146)
- BSR: Bryant (4.8)
- DRS: Jason Heyward (18)
- SP K/9: Jose Quintana (10.46)
- SP BB/9: Quintana (2.24)
- SP FIP: Quintana (3.25)
- RP FIP: Carl Edwards Jr (12.75)
- RP BB/9: Brandon Morrow (1.85)
- RP FIP: Morrow (1.55)
- WAR: Bryant (6.7)
- OBP: Freeman (.403)
- ISO: Freeman (.280)
- HR: Freeman (28)
- R+RBI: Freeman (155)
- wRC+: Freeman (152)
- BSR: Ozzie Albies (2.7)
- DRS: Tyler Flowers (11)
- SP K/9: Sean Newcomb (9.72)
- SP BB/9: Julio Teheran (3.44)
- SP FIP: Newcomb (4.19)
- RP K/9: Arodys Vizcaino (10.05)
- RP BB/9: Vizcaino (3.30)
- RP FIP: Sam Freeman (3.34)
- WAR: Freeman (4.5)
Injuries, transactions, vengenace pacts, etc.
There was some turnover in the Braves starting rotation this offseason, as R.A. Dickey, Jaime Garcia, and Bartolo Colon's 62 starts are going to noted Trans-Siberian Orchestra lover Brandon McCarthy and Anibal Sanchez, at least while those two are healthy. And speak of the devil, Brandon McCarthy left his start on Wednesday with a shoulder injury. At least it was his non-throwing shoulder. The Braves are also down noted pitch-framer Tyler Flowers, who strained an oblique in the first week of the season.
For the Cubs, the only injury is still Rizzo's back stiffness that landed him on the 10-day DL. He should be back after this series.
Projected K/9, BB/9, ERA listed for each pitcher.
Friday: Anibal Sanchez, LOL (8.57, 2.82, 4.81) vs Yu Darvish, RHP (11.02, 2.90, 3.39), 1:20 PM CT
Sanchez was a disaster last year for the Tigers, posting a 6.41 ERA in 105 innings and giving up 26 home runs. The Tigers did get a 9.2 WAR out of Sanchez in the first two years of his deal, but the rest was pertty brutal. The Cubs sort of dodged a bullet there I guess, though they were hit by a second one with the Edwin Jackson signing. Sanchez couldn't break the Twins roster this spring, which says a lot given how desparate for pitching that team always seems to be. The Braves picked him up to eat some innings in the fifth starter spot.
Darvish was sharp in his second outing, striking out nine Brewers over six innings while allowing a solo HR. His repertoire was much more expanded than what we saw in his first start.
Saturday: Sean Newcomb, LHP (10.26, 5.66, 4.31) vs Jose Quintana, LHP (9.02, 2.58, 3.28), 1:20 PM CT
If the Cubs can stay patient against Newcomb they could score some runs. Or at least strand a lot more runners. He has a hard time finding the strike zone, but his stuff is still good enough that he gets a ton of K's anyway. He was wrecked by the Nats in his first start, but bounced back nicely by pitching six scoreless innings with nine strikeouts in Colorado. Even more importantly, he didn't issue any free passes.
Quintana continues to toil away with the quiet competence that he had with the Sox. The Marlins somehow lit him up in his first start, but he shut down the Brewrs.
Sunday: Julio Teheran, RHP (7.71, 3.21, 4.59) vs Tyler Chatwood, RHP (7.37, 4.26, 4.31), 1:20 PM CT
Chatwood gave up roughly a billion hits to the Pirates in his last start. They may have found the BABIP monkey's paw though, so maybe it's not *all* on him. I'm as guilty as the next guy in trying to find silver linings in his results but so far he's just not been particularly good.
Teheran is the real deal, though I am surprised that his career numbers aren't nearly as good as I imagine them in my head. He's been hit hard in all of his starts this year, and even more unusually he has issued a lot of walks. Hopefully the Cubs take advantage.