Cubs @ Braves – Series Preview (April 1-4): TV and Game Info, Pitching Matchups, Insights

After winning big to open the season, the Cubs dropped a couple of winnable games against the Rangers. The pitching staff was unable to hold early leads that the offense gave them in both contests. It was more of the same that we saw seemingly all of last year, as Cubs pitchers had difficulty finding the zone with any consistency.

Their bats were another story, as the visitors scored 28 runs over the long weekend. With a 1-2 record, the Cubs head to Atlanta 1.5 games behind the first-place Brewers and half a game ahead of the Cardinals. Luckily, the first week of the season is not over yet and there is ample time to move up in the standings.

The Braves are coming off of a sweep at the hands of Bryce Harper and the Phillies, dropping their opening series by a combined 23-11 margin. Their pitchers walked 20 batters in those three games, so the Cubs aren’t the only team whose pitching has been problematic to start the season. Unlike the Cubs, however, the Braves offense has not been able to get much done.

If both teams perform similarly to how they did in their opening series, then the Cubs should leave Atlanta with, at worst, a .500 record.

Game and Broadcast Info

  • Monday, April 1 at 6:10 CT on NBC Sports Chicago and ESPN
  • Wednesday, April 3 at 6:20 CT on WGN and ESPN
  • Thursday, April 4 at 6:20 CT on NBC Sports Chicago and MLB Network

Starting Pitchers (2018 stats)

Date Pitcher Age T W/L ERA FIP K/BB
4/1 Kyle Hendricks 29 R 14-11 3.44 3.78 3.66
Sean Newcomb 25 L 12-9 3.90 4.14 1.98
4/3 Jon Lester 35 L 18-6 3.32 4.39 2.33
Julio Teheran 28 R 9-9 3.94 4.83 1.93
4/4 Yu Darvish 32 R 1-3 4.95 4.86 2.33
Max Fried 25 L 1-4 2.94 3.67 2.20

What to Watch For

  • Kyle Hendricks takes the bump the first game of the series, so you should see him teach a class on command and control. Expect him to go deep into his start.
  • Yu Darvish looks to rebound after a poor first start. Like most of the pitchers against the Rangers, he struggled with his ability to locate the zone. I wouldn’t put much stock into a first start of the season, so if you’re already concerned about him I recommend that you wait for him to get at least five starts under his belt before you make any conclusions.
  • David Bote should get ample time against the two Braves lefties, so you should see him out there on Monday and Thursday.
  • The offense is clicking right now, so expect to see more of the same.
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Matthias Woeckener

I'm a criminology doctoral student livin' in the South, and was drawn to the Cubs in the late '90s via WGN and Slammin' Sammy. My favorite current Cubs player is Anthony Rizzo. I hate bunts and intentional walks with a passion. Follow me on twitter (@wecknerd) for some great #content.

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