Chicago hopes to find some offense as they head into the April 16th Braves at Cubs matchup. The North Siders will have to do it without their manager as David Ross is suspended this game following an ejection against Milwaukee last time out.
The Braves have been struggling too, dropping four of their last five. Atlanta is still a -121 favorite mostly because the Cubs hitters have been so atrociously bad to start 2021. Chicago’s cold start also makes the under 7.5 look like a solid play, especially with the wind expected to be blowing in at 10 MPH at Wrigley Field.
Acuna, Jr. Leading the Way
One of the reasons Atlanta -121 has value in the April 16th Braves at Cubs matchup is because Ronald Acuna, Jr. could legitimately outscore the entire Chicago team by himself. That’s not hyperbole either, as the Braves OF has 3 HR and 6 RBI the last two games (Chicago has 3 runs their last two), and is hitting .442 so far this year. Acuna has 21 hits on the season, Chicago as a team 59.
Aside from Acuna, Jr., the Braves know what it’s like to struggle at the plate. Freddie Freeman does have 4 HR, but is also hitting just .191 on the year. He joins Marcell Ozuna (.163) and Ozzie Albies (.149) as struggling Braves batters, while Dansby Swanson (.204) hasn’t fared much better.
We’ll know more about Drew Smyly after Friday’s start. He was great in the opener with 8K’s over 6.0 IP, but gave up 5 ER in 5.0 IP last week vs. the Phillies. Chicago has hit .242 vs. LH this season, compared to just .135 vs. right-handers. The Cubs have also won 42 of their last 62 home games against Southpaws.
Can Cubs Find Any Offense?
The pressure is starting to mount on the Chicago offense, as they rank last in the majors in runs/game, batting average, and OPS. The Cubs were shut out on Wednesday after managing just 4 hits, and their are eight teams who have scored more runs than the Cubs have hits.
Kris Bryant has been one of the few bright spots on the Cubs, with 7 of his 9 hits being for extra bases. Bryant is one of just three Chicago batters hitting above .200 though and Javy Baez has been especially bad with 21 K’s in 45 AB.
Zach Davies will try to get a bounce back for Chicago as he makes his third start for the Cubs. Davies couldn’t even get out of the second inning in his last start, giving up 7ER over 1.2 to the lowly Pirates. Davies tossed 5.2 IP of 2ER ball in his Cubs debut, but that was once again vs. Pittsburgh. The Braves have hit .356 (16-45) vs. Davies as a team.
Free Braves at Cubs Pick
Chicago may have a bounce back game being at home after six straight on the road. They may even get a boost without Ross in the dugout, as Andy Green takes over for the day. The Braves need wins too though, as they’re ahead of only the Nationals in the East. This side could go either way, but with the Cubs’ (and Braves for the most part) ineptitude on offense right now the under is the play.
Cubs 4 – Braves 3