Atlanta Braves left fielder Marcell Ozuna (20) bats against the Philadelphia Phillies during a baseball game Monday, April 12, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
- The Braves and Cubs meet on Saturday, April 17th at 2:20 pm ET
- Atlanta won the series opener by a score of 5-2
- Get the odds, preview, and best bet for game 2 below
The Atlanta Braves will be looking for their third-straight win on Saturday when they take on the Chicago Cubs (first-pitch 2:20 PM EST) at Wrigley Field.
Atlanta was led by Marcell Ozuna on Friday, who went 3 -for-5 in the series opener. The team collected nine hits in a 5-2 win, but they did strand 11 runners on base.
Braves vs Cubs Odds
|Team||Runline||Moneyline at DraftKings||Total|
Odds as of April 16th at .
The Braves opened up as a small road favorite, and will send Huascar Ynoa to the hill, while Cubs will counter with righty Trevor Williams.
Ynoa Continues to Excel
Ynoa hasn’t pitched a whole lot at the big league level, appearing in just nine games last season, while making five starts. But, he’s been given the opportunity to be in the Braves starting rotation early on due to Mike Soroka’s injury.
It’s safe to say Ynoa is running away with the opportunity. The hard-throwing righty was put in an opener role last week against the Nationals, throwing five innings of scoreless baseball. Then earlier this week, the youngster made his first start of 2021, dominating the Marlins across six innings, giving up just one run while striking out 10.
Ynoa has only pitched against a handful of teams in his career and the Cubs have not been one of them. In fact, no one on Chicago has ever faced Ynoa. They will have their hands full though with a fastball that sits consistently in the high 90’s and a wipeout slider that is lethal.
Another Bad Day For Cubs Bats
Chicago continues to struggle to muster up anything offensively. They’re already the worst team in the league with just 2.7 runs per game and that didn’t change much in the opener.
Braves starter Kyle Wright, who was a last-minute replacement for Drew Smyly, hit four Cubs batters but still managed to hold them to three hits and two runs across 4.1 innings. Chicago also had their issues with driving guys in, stranding 12 runners.
There’s a stat for every occasion:
The Cubs are hitting .095 with 2 outs, including an 0-7 today. That’s the worst mark by any team through 13 games over the last 45 seasons.
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) April 16, 2021
Wilson Contreras was the catalyst, going 2-for-3 with a homer, but the rest of the lineup couldn’t string together much at the dish. Getting Ynoa on Saturday will sure not be easy either for the Cubs as he continues to impress in the rotation.
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Williams Excels Against Braves
Williams inked a one-year deal with Chicago in the offseason after spending the first six seasons of his major league career in Pittsburgh. He hasn’t enjoyed the greatest start though, compiling a 6.75 ERA across two appearances. The former Arizona State standout was even lit up by his former team last Sunday, surrendering five earned runs on 10 hits while lasting 3.1 innings.
However, Williams has done well against Atlanta. Their current lineup is hitting just .117 with the righty on the bump, although it has been a small sample size. In three games versus the Braves, the 28-year-old owns a 2.77 ERA.
Braves Stats vs Williams
|Ronald Acuna Jr.||3||1||1||1||1||.333|
The Braves bats have come alive over the last few games and they managed to hit around Zach Davies on Friday, scoring four of their five runs off him. Ozuna is coming in hot on Saturday and coincidentally enough, he’s had the most success against Williams.
All in a day’s work for @ronaldacunajr24!#CarryTheFreight | #ForTheA pic.twitter.com/wISN0fQ9fU
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) April 17, 2021
Ronald Acuna Jr, who’s enjoyed a blazing start, went just 1-for-4 in game 1 but he did have a clutch two-run single. As a lineup, Atlanta struck out just seven times in the series opener at Wrigley. They’ve also scored an average of six runs across the last four contests, a drastic improvement over their first 10 games.
I really like how Ynoa is throwing the ball and his electric stuff will likely overwhelm Chicago’s cold offense. On the other hand, Atlanta is starting to come alive offensively and even though Williams has done well against them, Acuna and co. will do enough to get another win.
The right-hander hasn’t had his best stuff through two starts and one or two mistakes will likely hurt him with a Braves lineup full of studs.
Pick: Atlanta Braves -125
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Quinn Allen is a sports journalist, with a background and education in broadcast journalism (BCIT ’17). He writes about European Football, Basketball, and Baseball for numerous sites across the globe.