Major League Baseball
The second game of the series between the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs will take place on Saturday at the Wrigley Field at 2:20 PM ET. Major League Baseball returns with a showdown between the Cubs and the Braves, with the Cubs being the least favorites to win the series.
The Cubs have lost their 10th straight game of the season – the last defeat coming at the hands of the San Diego Padres on Thursday. On the contrary, the Atlanta Braves seem to be having a fantastic season as they are riding a 14-game winning streak.
The Chicago Cubs have had awful displays at home this season, with an embarrassing 11-24 overall. However, the Braves have closed to within 4 games of New York for the NL East Division lead after their 14-game winning streak.
Season So Far
The Atlanta Braves end their 6-game away trip by getting it started with a trip to Wrigley Field. The Braves had a convincing win over the Nationals by sweeping their series, which added to their winning streak.
As they entered June, they have come just 4 games behind the Mets. Their two initial months of the season did not go as planned as they did not work as a team in certain games. However, luck would favor them as we have seen them returning to the race for the lead in June.
The Braves have proved their doubters wrong by doing all the talking on the pitch. A combination of good pitching, solid defense, explosive offense, etc., started a vital part in their road to redemption.
The offense has been the recent hero for the Atlanta Braves as they homered 13 times and outscored the Nationals 27-11 in their first three away games. They lead the charts with more than 34 home runs in the 14-game winning streak.
Atlanta is also set to get one of their key players back on the pitch this weekend after a long spell out due to injury. That player is none other than Collin McHugh, who is returning to the dugout after a week-long injury. His return only strengthens the Braves as they are set to go on a three-game series against the Cubs.
The Chicago Cubs are going through one of their worst seasons as they have lost most matches, with 10 being a continuous losing streak. They face the defending champions in Atlanta Braves, who are on a high winning streak and can further improve by beating the Cubs this weekend.
The Padres took a clean sweep of their 4-game series against the Cubs, outscoring them 41-15. This ties the Cubs to Cincinnati for the last position in their conference, having really poor performances at home.
The issues faced by Chicago are reflected in the whole team.
One of the main departments that have disappointed this season is their defense. They look average and not like a group that can challenge at the top. The pitchers also have a very low staff era and FIP, standing 26th and 27th.
Their rotation stands at 20th in MLB in fWAR, although the bullpen’s had a better outcome. One of their players that have been outperforming the rest of the team is Willson Contreras. He has been a breath of fresh air in this poor-performing Cubs team and can get traded for a better team by the end of the season.
Besides Contreras, you could shout out Ian Happ for his contributions to the Cubs this season. The rest of the roster seems to have had problems during the course of the season.
Seiya Suzuki had an injury to his finger at the end of May, with doubts about his return to action this season. There were high chances he could have returned sooner, but his injury is taking more time than expected for recovery. With a total of 19 players used this season, the Cubs look like they are running out of options, with 7 of those players producing abysmal performances.
Contrary to the Cubs’ poor season, Justin Steele has had an excellent season in the pitching department. Atlanta’s batters will be coming up against a pitcher on a great run, along with Scott Effross and David Robertson.
Atlanta Braves – Probable Starter
Kyle Wright will take the opening slot on Saturday as the Braves take on the Cubs for the second game of their three-game series. His initial throws in their last match were below par but came back strong as the game went on, giving the Pirates very little to take advantage of in over 6 innings.
The confidence oozing from Wright this season speaks a lot about how he has matured over the years. He was known for not having good starts to his season and shying away from responsibility whenever that happened. He is now confident enough to maneuver his way through bad spells, which has been his mark this season.
Chicago Cubs – Probable Starter
Justin Steele has been one of Chicago’s standout performers in the last couple of games and will begin the pitching against Atlanta this Saturday. He is surprisingly in the top 40 pitchers this season, albeit his team’s poor performances.
This will be the first start for Justin Steele against the Braves in his career. He is worth more than pitchers like Sean Manaea, Zac Gallen, etc., regarding the number of starts they have had this season.
Justin Steele can be dominant if the batters don’t get a good read of his pitches, and even if they do, they will have a hard time trying to take advantage of his fastballs.
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