It’s funny how things can change so quickly when it comes to baseball. After starting this week in the doldrums following a sweep in Philadelphia, the Braves now have a chance to transfer that pain to the Cubs as they will be going for the sweep tonight at SunTrust Park.
The main story for tonight has to be the fact that this could once again come down to which team’s bullpen can prevent themselves from spilling spaghetti all over the place. The Cubs will obviously be trying to bounce back after last night’s calamitous effort, which saw Steve Cishek utterly fail to find the strike zone and helped touch off a terrible collapse for the Cubs and a beautiful comeback for the Braves.
While the Cubs’ bullpen woes cost them last night’s game, we can’t forget that it was almost the Braves who had a night of bullpen-induced sadness after Jonny Venters got hit hard in relief of Julio Teheran. Jesse Biddle didn’t fare too well either and this put the Braves in a two-run hole going into the eighth inning. The Cubs had a rough night when it came to relief pitching, but the Braves didn’t get through the night unscathed, either.
The point is that both bullpens are probably going to play a big role in tonight’s game and we could see both teams have to rely on their relief pitching at an early juncture. The Cubs will be starting Yu Darvish tonight and he’ll be coming off of a start that didn’t inspire much confidence in his return from injury. While it probably wouldn’t be wise to bet on Darvish failing to get out of the third inning again, it wouldn’t be a huge shock if Darvish doesn’t last too long tonight.
That could also be a possibility for Max Fried as well. This will be Fried’s first start of the season after making a couple of relief appearances in Philadelphia and if he can get deep into this game, it’ll be a huge bonus. This would be a good time for it to happen as well — over the five starts that Fried made in 2018, he went five innings or longer in three of those starts and his longest stint was 6.2 innings. It would be lovely if he managed to get into the seventh inning tonight, since that would also indicate that he’d be keeping the Cubs’ offense at bay.
Either way, it would be great to see a Braves starter actually have a long stint. The offense has proven that they can consistently score runs and there would be good days on the horizon if the relief pitching can match what the offense can do. Tonight would be a good starting point, in addition to it also marking a sweep against the Cubs as well.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, April 4, 7:20 PM ET
Location: SunTrust Park, Atlanta, GA
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, MLB Network (out-of-market)
Radio: WCNN 680 AM / 93.7 FM, Braves Radio Network