The MLB weekend schedule wraps up Sunday night with a primetime game between the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs. At home, the Cubs are slight favorites with a moneyline of -112 compared to Atlanta’s moneyline of -105. The game also has an over/under of 8.5 runs.
The Cubs are coming off an emphatic 13-4 win over the Braves on Saturday, hitting six home runs in the process. It was a big win for the Cubs, who have still lost seven of their last ten games and remain two games under .500 on the season.
Meanwhile, Saturday’s loss keeps the Braves last in the NL East despite being preseason favorites to win the division. Atlanta has two separate four-game losing streaks early in the season and has lost five of seven. That should make the Braves desperate to win Sunday’s rubber match.
New Kid on the Block
The Braves will send 23-year-old Bryce Wilson to the mound on Sunday night. Wilson has made seven starts and eight relief appearances for the Braves over the last three seasons, but this will be his season debut. Across 42.2 innings in the majors, Wilson owns an ERA of 5.91, so the Braves aren’t sure what they’ll get out of him against a lineup that exploded on Saturday.
Of course, the Cubs had been struggling offensively before Saturday’s sudden outburst. The likes of Javier Baez, Ian Happ, and Joc Pederson are all hitting below .200, while Jason Heyward and Anthony Rizzo haven’t been much better. On the other hand, Chicago’s lineup still boasts plenty of power, as Baez, Kris Bryant, and Willson Contreras have combined for 14 home runs on the season.
The Guy We Know
The Cubs will feel good with opening day starter Kyle Hendricks getting the nod on Sunday night. Unfortunately for the Cubs, Hendricks had to be scratched from his last scheduled start, so this will be his first time on the mound in 11 days. The good news is that Hendricks tossed six scoreless innings, striking out six and giving up four hits in his last start against the Brewers.
Much like the Cubs, the Braves are also struggling to find consistent production offensively this season outside of Ronald Acuna. He has seven home runs and is batting .433 with an OPS of 1.409, although he’s the team’s only regular who’s hitting better than .212 at the moment. There are some signs that Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna are starting to come out of their slump, but runs are still in short supply for Atlanta.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Despite being scratched from his last start due to COVID concerns, Hendricks is likely to make the start on Sunday. That will be a huge boost for the Cubs, who will clearly have the edge in starting pitching over Atlanta. One could say the same about the Chicago offense after Saturday’s game, although the Cubs still have a lot to prove in terms of consistency.
Nevertheless, Hendricks and Saturday’s offensive display are enough to push the needle toward the Cubs. Bet on Chicago to win on Sunday night.
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