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The Braves come off a World Series season while the Cubs are trying to continue to stay relevant in the playoff picture without rebuilding even after losing the core of their 2016 World Series team. Chicago on the season has outscored opponents by 19 runs, but that’s misleading considering it all happened because of a 21-0 win vs. Pittsburgh last week. Atlanta has been outscored by 14 runs, the fifth-worst mark in the NL. The Braves have the better pitcher on the mound and are back home, so we’re taking Atlanta Moneyline and the under.
Garcia’s 2021 record: (7-6)
Part of the way the Cubs thought they could stay in the thick of the NL Central race is by adding an established starter like Marcus Stroman – a guy who has had an ERA better than 3.10 in three of the past five seasons and a career WAR better than 15 across eight seasons entering the season. So far, that hasn’t worked out as they’d envisioned. Stroman has struggled through his three starts, posting an 0-2 record with an 8.78 ERA and 1.65 WHIP with 14 strikeouts. Stroman hasn’t made it out of the fifth in either of his past two outings, giving up a combined 12 earned runs on 14 hits in just 8.1 innings of work.
His main issue? Opponents are hitting,.333 against his sinker which is usually his “out” pitch while lefties as a whole are hitting .314. When he’s ahead of hitters, they’re batting just .188 but when he falls behind, they’re hitting .391. His location and whether or not he’s an apple to get ahead early will be telling.
Max Fried, on the other hand, seems to have righted the ship in a major way in his last outing.
After giving up seven earned runs in 10.1 innings over his first two starts, he was dominant against baseball’s best offense in the Dodgers. On the road, he threw seven shutout innings, giving up just two hits and no walks while striking out eight.
When he’s on his game, he’s one of the top pitchers in all of baseball.
The Cubs have won consecutive games just once this season. The Braves have done so only twice. Neither has had even three wins in a row at any point this season, while both teams are 2-5 in the past seven.
With that said, it should come as no surprise that Atlanta (7-10) and Chicago (7-9) have already fallen to third and fourth in their divisions respectively. If the Cubs are going to find that consistency they’re searching for, it’s going to start with a more reliable offense.
Outside of Saturday’s explosion when they scored an MLB-best 21 runs, they’ve scored three runs or fewer in four of five games. Atlanta, meanwhile, has to find a way to keep its opponent off the board. Atlanta has allowed 82 total runs this season, the fourth worst mark in all of baseball.
So far this season, the x-factor for the Cubs has been Seiya Suzuki, the star they signed from Japan. He leads the team in average (.354), home runs (4), RBIs (13), OBP (.492) and hits (17).
Looking beyond just Suzuki, the person we’re watching in this game is Nico Hoerner. The shortstop has been red hot lately, getting eight hits in the past three games, which has raised his average to .327 with an .809 OPS.
For Atlanta, we’re watching Dansby Swanson, who on the flipside has been ice cold to open 2022. He’s hitting just .172 this season, but there are small signs he’s starting to heat up, reaching base in three straight games with a triple, a walk and two RBIs.
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|Chicago Cubs vs Atlanta Braves Information
|Chicago Cubs vs Atlanta Braves
|Trust Park, Atlanta, Georgia
|Tuesday, August 26, 7:20 PM EST
|How to watch
|Bally Sports South, Marquee Sports Network
Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.More info on Tony Garcia
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