Despite limited experience, this Braves roster has not fared particularly well against Darvish as a whole, going a collective 2-for-21 with a .091/.200/.091 slash and 12 strikeouts. Granted, most of the impact players for this current offense have never faced the righty. The only two players with hits off Darvish are Ryan Flaherty, who gets the nod at third base, and Tyler Flowers, who is currently on the shelf.
Meanwhile, bench fixture Peter Bourjos has two career walks off Darvish, which is nice. We’ve got that going for us.
The Cubs will align accordingly:
This potent offense will face Anibal Sanchez, who has held these Cubs to a .232/.358/.250 slash with nine strikeouts and no home runs. The only Cubs with more than 10 plate appearances against him are:
- Ben Zobrist - a familiar foe from their shared time in the AL Central - who has a dismal .334 OPS against Sanchez in 28 career plate appearances;
- Jason Heyward, who is 5-13 with 4 walks and a double; and,
- Anthony Rizzo, whose 2-10 line against Sanchez is inconsequential, as he hit the DL earlier this week.
An odd quirk about Sanchez’s time facing the Cubs - he has issued 11 walks in 67 plate appearances against them. Like his mound opponent, Sanchez has never faced most of the impact players in this lineup so projecting today’s matchup is a bit of a crapshoot.
First pitch is scheduled for 2:20 EST.