Chicago Cubs @ Atlanta Braves – Series Preview (May 13-15): Overview, Game and Broadcast Info, Starting Pitchers, W2W4

The Cubs (24-17) won two of three against the Pirates in a wild series that included a game with six bases-loaded walks in a single inning and an extra-innings affair that saw a combined five runs scored in the 10th. As has been the case all season, the North Siders are still fighting against themselves with a bullpen that has been hampered by injuries and poor performances. Things don’t get any easier when Craig Counsell‘s team heads south for a matchup with the mighty Braves.

Atlanta (24-13) got off to another terrific start, opening the season 18-6 before cooling off a bit, and they now sit two games behind the red-hot Phillies in the National League East. The offense is still very strong with a .740  team OPS that ranks sixth best in all of baseball.

A lot of the big bats in the Braves lineup have had slow starts to the season, including Ronald Acuña Jr. and Matt Olson, both of whom are below the .700 OPS mark. DH Marcell Ozuna is definitely not struggling with 12 home runs and an OPS of 1.042, which trails only Shohei Ohtani for the highest in MLB.

The pitching staff is pretty good too with a team ERA of 3.47 that is 10th in baseball. The bullpen and the starters have almost identical ERA’s so there is really no weak link to exploit. Newly acquired Chris Sale has returned to health and has been very good so far with a 2.95 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 43.2 innings. Max Fried is still the staff ace, but he has gotten off to a bit of a slow start compared to last year.

Raisel Iglesias has 10 saves as the closer while Joe Jiménez has been very good in a setup role. Former Cub Jesse Chavez has been pitching very well out of the bullpen at age 40. Again, this is a team without a lot of holes.

Even though the returns of Cody Bellinger, Seiya Suzuki, and Justin Steele from injury have given the Cubs a boost, the unstable relief corps makes nearly every game an adventure. This is one of those series where you really just hope for one win with a possibility of stealing another.

Game Time and Broadcast Info

  • Monday, May 13 at 6:20pm CT on MLB Network (out of market only) and Marquee.
  • Tuesday, May 14 at 6:20pm CT on Marquee.
  • Wednesday, May 15 at 6:20pm CT on MLB Network (out of market only) and Marquee.

Starting Pitchers

Date Pitcher Age T ERA W/L FIP K/BB
5/13 Shōta Imanaga 30 L 1.08 5-0 2.37 8.60
Reynaldo López 30 R 1.53 2-1 3.02 2.57
5/14 Jameson Taillon 32 R 1.13 3-0 3.51 3.20
Chris Sale 35 L 2.95 5–1 2.62 6.50
5/15  TBA
Charlie Morton 40 R 3.14 3-0 3.67 2.86

What to Watch For

  • Suzuki had two hits in his first game back and made a lot of hard contact Sunday despite not getting anything to drop in for a knock.
  • Christopher Morel had five hits against the Pirates, including a home run and appeared not to be injured after jamming his knee on a slide Saturday.
  • The Cubs pushed Taillon’s start to Tuesday and have not named a starter for Wednesday.
  • Ozzie Albies has gotten off to a slow start but he’s always very good against Chicago.
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