The Braves have raced out to an early season lead in the NL East with a surprising 25-15 record through their first 40 games.
Chicago is expected to hand the ball to right-hander Tyler Chatwood, who has been a valuable member of the Cubs’ staff so far this season. Chatwood has allowed three earned runs or less in six of his seven starts in a Cubs’ uniform, while allowing a total of eight earned runs over his past 27 ⅔ innings of work. The 28-year-old hurler is fresh off of a resounding 11-2 win over the White Sox in which he tossed five innings of two-run ball, despite walking five batters on the night.
Walks have been an issue for Chatwood so far in 2018. The Cubs right-hander has walked five batters or more in five of his seven starts, but opponents are batting a paltry .202 off of him so far this season. He has struck out 38 batters and walked 32 on the year.
Chatwood made two relief appearances against the Braves last season, tossing four innings of scoreless baseball and allowing just one hit. He tossed five innings of one-hit ball in his last start against the Braves in 2016.
The Cubs have been one of the MLB’s hottest lineups heading into their series with the Braves. Over the past seven days heading into Tuesday’s action, Chicago had scored the second-most run in the major leagues behind only the Baltimore Orioles.
Atlanta is slated to counter with veteran right-hander Brandon McCarthy, who has some experience pitching against the Cubs from his days with the Dodgers. In two starts against the Cubs last season, McCarthy pitches two gems, allowing zero runs in 12 total innings of work. He allowed just six hits in his two starts combined, while striking out 10 and walking four.
McCarthy has struggled a great deal during the month of May. After going a combined 4-0 in March and April, the Braves’ veteran comes in with a 0-2 record and an unsightly 15.12 ERA.
According to Baseball Savant, the Cubs come in with a .298 batting average in 47 total at-bats against the Braves’ right-hander, but 10 of their 14 hits have been singles. McCarthy enters with a 5.20 FIP against the current Cubs roster and a walk percentage (13.0 percent) that is higher than his strikeout percentage (11.1 percent).
- Cubs are 2-7 in their last 9 games after losing the first 2 games of a series.
- Cubs are 0-4 in their last 4 road games.
- Braves are 6-0 in their last 6 Wednesday games.
- Braves are 10-1 in their last 11 during game 3 of a series.
Both pitchers have some pretty good numbers against the opposition. Even though McCarthy has a high FIP against the current Cubs roster, it’s tough to argue with McCarthy’s ERA against the Cubs in two starts last season. Meanwhile, Chatwood has been fortunate to escape his starts without much trouble despite walking a ton of batters. He’s averaging nearly one walk per inning so far this year and has walked at least five batters in five of his seven outings this season. Look for that to come back to bite him here and take the Braves to come away with a win at home.