Series Preview: Atlanta Braves (7-5) at Chicago Cubs (6-6)

In Series Previews by berselius22 Comments

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.

Team Leaders

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.

Pitching Probables

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.


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  1. Author

    North Side Pat:
    There are actually people arguing on Twitter tonight that the Cubs should have signed Mark Reynolds as a backup 1B.Cubs Twitter makes BCB look like a place for rational debate.

    Reminds me of the days when the BCB crowd was complaining that the Cubs couldn’t replace Ramirez’s production after he separated his shoulder in 2009.

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  2. Rice at home

    The problem is that the Cubs already have like 6 guys who could play first base passably even if Rizzo is out so that argument made very little sense. Also if you’re not a fan of strikeouts I’m gonna hypothesize that Reynolds would make you very unhappy.

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  3. myles

    Brian Giles walked almost 350 more times in his career than he struck out. From 1999 to 2003, his worst composite slash line was .298/.404/.514. The median slash was .309/.427/.594 (!). Jeeeeeeeez.

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  4. Perkins

    Looking at the weather, this seems like a “score early and get in five innings” type of day. Tomorrow’s game probably gets postponed, and Sunday looks awful as well.

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  5. Author

    To-day’s base ball squadron

    CF Almora
    3B La Stella
    1B Bryant
    C Contreras
    LF Schwarber
    SS Russell
    2B Baez
    RF Heyward
    P Darvish

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  6. Author

    Brian Giles was either the worst fielding outfielder of the past 20 years or one of the most underrated players of the same.

    It could be more than one thing.

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  7. Tyrone

    Tim Kawakami @timkawakami
    I understand that Lynch, Shanahan and York like Foster. I understand that they want to win football games and they might know some details that aren’t public. But now they’re going up against a DA’s office, which decided there was enough evidence to prosecute this.

    Kawakami is puzzling. He’s plugged in and seems pretty intelligent, but I don’t understand his point that SF should just cut Reuben Foster simply because he was charged. He’s dying on this hill on Twitter by arguing against people suggesting the team waits until the court rules in Foster’s case. Why is that such an outrageous suggestion?

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  8. Tyrone

    The Bay To LA Podcast @BayPodcast Replying to @timkawakami
    Well you kinda made my point for me. [Tremaine] Brock was cut then charges dropped. He should have been kept on until it played out. What would have been wrong with letting the legal system play itself out in that scenario or this one?

    Tim Kawakami @timkawakami
    No, I didn’t. The 49ers made their decision on Brock to show that they valued character. They’ve decided otherwise with Foster, who has been charged with felonies. If you can’t see the inconsistency, I can’t help you.

    Maybe SF values character and maybe they don’t. But I fail to see how anyone could come to the conclusion that they DON’T value character based on the fact that they have not yet cut a player based on the fact that the player was charged by a district attorney. Am I wrong?

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  9. Tyrone

    Patrick Mooney @PJ_Mooney
    Joe Maddon responds to Clint Hurdle’s criticism of Javier Baez and Willson Contreras: “It reveals you more than it reveals the person you’re talking about.”

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  10. Tyrone


    So eloquent. My response would’ve been.

    Patrick Mooney @PJ_Mooney
    Tyrone Ryno responds to Clint Hurdle’s criticism of Javier Baez and Willson Contreras: “Hey Clint, I found that respect you were looking for. It’s right here…

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