Bryce Elder will take the mound for Atlanta at the storied Wrigley Field and will face off against another relatively soft-throwing high-contact pitcher in Javier Assad, who is the nominal starter for Chicago’s bullpen today.
Assad has been the Cubs’ long reliever this season and has been essentially replacement level, which is about what his career would suggest. He has started one other game this season in his 19 appearances, so he certainly isn’t a traditional starter, but he does have two appearances of at least 5.0 innings for Chicago this season. So far in his major league career he has struck out a little over seven batters per nine innings and has walked a little over four batters per nine innings, which is...pretty bad. He has been pretty fortunate with BABIP and LOB% luck so far in his career, leading to a 3.18 MLB ERA, but his peripherals all in the mid fours show his true talent level a bit better. This is a pitcher that the Braves offense should mash and knock out of the game pretty early, although baseball will be baseball. He pitches primarily with a four seamer, sinker, and a cutter, but mixes in the occasional changeup, slider, and curveball. His sinker has been his most effective pitch according to statcast, but none of his pitches are very impressive. The Cubs have had a middling bullpen this season, so whoever comes after Assad shouldn’t be assumed to be particularly formidable either, unless his name is Adbert Olzolay, who seems quite impressive.
The Braves will look to continue their record-breaking pace for home runs by a team in a season and a number of players will be in search of individual records and milestones, as the team looks for an MLB best 71st win.
Game Date/Time: Saturday, August 5, 2:20 p.m. ET
Location: Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois
TV: Bally Sports Southeast
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan