Last night the Braves continued their strong form with a 6-5 win in game one at Wrigley Field. Neither Julio Teheran or Jose Quintana were particularly great on the mound, but Teheran was the least worst as he allowed two homers and gave up four runs in six innings.
It was the Braves offense that got the job done against Quintana though, as Ozzie Albies, Tyler Flowers, and Jose Bautista all went deep to help overturn an early 2-0 lead from Chicago. While the Cubs bullpen shut down the Braves lineup, the Cubbies couldn't mount enough of a comeback, with Albert Almora Jr the only player to have a multi-hit game.
Mike Foltynewicz (RHP) Vs. Yu Darvish (RHP)
Foltynewicz is having something of a career-year. He career bests in K/9 (10.1), ERA (3.21), HR/9 (0.9) and very nearly WHIP (1.31), but there are also some concerns. His walk rate is the highest it has ever been (4.1 BB/9), while his BABIP is 30 points lower than his career average and his strand rate is up. Projecting where a 26-year-old will go after a hot start is always difficult. Is this a new normal? Or will he feel some regression? I guess we'll have to wait and see.
Darvish missed his last start due to a virus, and he returns to the mound with a 6.00 ERA. The start to his Cubs career has been awful, with four outings where he failed to get through the fifth inning, and three where he gave up at least five runs. He has allowed six homers, given up a 4.8 BB/9 walk rate and owns a 1.57 WHIP. History suggests that he will turn it around, but it can't come quick enough for the Cubs.
|Braves Lineup||Home Runs||Batting Average||On-Base Percentage|
|Acuna Jr, LF||3||.260||.333|
|Cubs Lineup||Home Runs||Batting Average||On-Base Percentage|
|Almora Jr, CF||2||.298||.354|
Who's hot, who's not
The Braves don't necessarily go as Freddie Freeman does, but when their star first baseman is hot it certainly helps. Over the last two weeks Freeman has hit .347 with four homers, 10 runs, and 12 RBI. He isn't the only one raking though. Nick Markakis is hitting .429 with a trio of homers, and even Tyler Flowers is hitting .333 albeit in limited at-bats.
On the other side of the coin, Ronald Acuna has struggled, while Johan Camargo is hitting just .143 in the last two weeks.
The Cubs best bat right now is Anthony Rizzo. The slugger is hitting .283 over the last two weeks and mashed five homers. Kris Bryant's power has played well, with six homers, but his average is nothing to write home about.
Kyle Schwarber is still struggling, with a .219 average and no homers in the last 15 days, but there are not many hitters truly struggling for the Cubs right now.
Mike Foltynewicz has not played the Cubs yet, but he has strong performances against the Nationals and Phillies under his belt. The issue is if things go wrong they can go wrong in a big way. He has given up six runs against San Francisco, and that is truly awful. Still, he is in far better form than Darvish, and even if he struggles tonight he is likely to see a lot of run support. The win last night may have surprised people, but a win tonight would not.
The game will be broadcast live on CSNC and FSSO, and also streamed live on MLB.tv for out of market subscribers. The fist pitch is scheduled for 6:35pm CT/7:35pm ET.