The reeling Chicago Cubs try to avoid a sweep when they finish their three-game series with the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night.
Thursday, April 4 at 7:20 PM ET
Periods of rain and a thunderstorm
Winds from the SSE 13 km/h
Gusts: 18 km/h
Coverage: MLB Network
After opening the season 0-2, the Braves have back-to-back wins over the Cubs, including last night's 6-4 comeback victory.
The Cubs, on the other hand, are reeling, losing their last four after a bullpen collapse cost them a 4-2 lead in the eight inning. Steve Cishek walked the bases loaded before Randy Rosario allowed a three-run double against Johan Camargo last night.
Generating offense hasn't been an issue, the Cubs rank eight with 32 runs scored and lead the majors with a .330 batting average and a .420 on base percentage and they're fifth with a .505 slugging percentage but their pitching has been a disaster, they rank 29th with a 6.75 ERA, 30th with a 2.01 WHIP and 28th with a .293 batting average and their bullpen is 29th with an 8.83 ERA after giving up 18 runs (17 earned) over 17 1/3 innings.
Max Fried (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Yu Darvish (0-0, 10.13 ERA)
Left-hander Max Fried will make his third appearance and first start of the season. Fried surrendered two walks in 1 2/3 innings and he won his only start against the Cubs, limiting them to one earned run in five innings on September 3, 2017. The left-hander went 1-4 with a 2.94 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP in 33 2/3 innings over 14 games (five starts) last season, recording 44 strikeouts.
The Cubs will give the ball to Yu Darvish, who really struggled in his first start of the season, allowing three earned runs on two hits (one home run) with four strikeouts and seven walks to get a no-decision in an 8-6 loss against the Rangers last Saturday. Darvish has a 5.27 ERA in nine starts since joining the Cubs and he was 0-1 with a 5.19 ERA and a 2.20 WHIP in two starts against the Braves last season.
The Chicago Cubs are:
5-11 in their last 16 road games against a team with a home winning percentage above .600
2-6 in their last eight road games against a team with a losing record
1-4 in their last five games after allowing five runs or more in their previous game
The Atlanta Braves are:
7-0 in their last seven home games against a right-handed starter
7-0 in their last seven home games against a team with a road winning percentage below .400
8-1 in their last nine home games
Fried has pitched well this season and even though his sample size is extremely limited, the Cubs roster is hitting a combined .182 (2-for-11) against him (Ben Zobrist had those two hits and he's 2-for-3 against Fried) and he had a solid Spring Training, going 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP in 17 1/3 innings over four starts.
Darvish has been a mess with the Cubs and Ozzie Albies is 2-for-5 with a double against him while Ender Inciarte is 2-for-4 with a home run.
MLB Pick: Braves -117 at Jazz Sports
Check odds here: http://bit.ly/jazzonaff