Chicago Cubs at Atlanta Braves / MLB 2022 Predictions & Preview
The National League East was supposed to be one of the best divisions in baseball, but only the Mets are currently above .500, with the Braves falling further and further behind them. And following this Cubs series, and a quick trip to Texas, it’s four games at Citi Field for Atlanta.
Meanwhile in Chicago, the team continues to scuffle, even as Japanese sensation Seiya Suzuki proves to be all that he was advertised. All of your betting picks can be made any of these top ranked betting sites.
Cubs at Braves Prediction
It’s good news for the Braves Thursday night, as Wright’s the scheduled starter. His most recent start was one of the best starts anywhere in baseball this season. He threw six shutout innings against the Marlins, giving up just four hits and one walk while striking out 11. That followed up a nine-strikeout performance in five innings against the Padres.
Pitching for the Cubs is former Brave Drew Smyly. Smyly got knocked around in his last time out, allowing four runs and two home runs in five innings against the Pirates. In his two starts before that, however, he didn’t allow a run.
Last season, Smyly got a win in the NLCS and made two appearances for the Braves in the World Series.
Kyle Wright’s pitching so well that it’s hard to bet against him. And even as the Braves struggle, they still have a much better lineup, Suzuki notwithstanding.
With Wright on the mound, and at home, the smart money is on the Braves to close out this series with a win. Make your wagers at a reputable sportsbook such as BetMGM.
Chicago Cubs Overview
Being stuck in fourth place behind the Brewers, Cardinals, and Pirates isn’t that surprising. This Cubs team no longer looks anything like the 2016 World Series winners or even close to any World Series competitor.
They’re short on pitching and short on hitting, and that leads to a season short on winning.
But all isn’t dull on the north side of Chicago thanks to Japanese import Seiya Suzuki, to whom the Cubs paid $85 million to lure away from the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, where he was an All-Star five times.
Last year with the Carp, he hit .317 with 38 home runs, 88 RBI, and 87 walks. Right now with Chicago, he’s on pace to go over 100 RBI and walks, and his OPS of 1.098 is higher than what he hit last season in Japan.
Cubs president Jed Hoyer acknowledged this offseason that the team was rebuilding, and putting together, as he put it, “the next great Cubs team.” And as the talent matures at the Minor League level, Suzuki’s proving that he can be that MVP-caliber veteran that helps tie it all together.
Atlanta Braves Overview
The expected drop-off by going from Freddie Freeman to Matt Olson at first base hasn’t happened. Olson’s raking at the plate right now. His home runs are down, but his batting average is nearly 80 points higher than his career average, which has his slugging above last year’s.
And thanks to Ozzie Albies, Austin Riles, and Marcell Ozuna, the Braves rank in the top five in home runs. So when Olson does start hitting the long ball with more frequency this lineup will be just fine.
So what’s wrong with the Braves? Not only are they well behind the Mets, even the Marlins are ahead of them in the standings.
An ERA that ranks 25th in baseball is a start. And the problems with the pitching are being fueled by problems with the strike zone. The Atlanta pitching staff is fifth from the bottom in walks allowed.
In 2021, Charlie Morton had an ERA of 3.34 and a walk rate of 2.8 per nine innings. This year his ERA is 6.32 with a walk rate of 4.0. In 2021, Ian Anderson had an ERA of 3.04 and a walk rate of 3.7. This year he’s at 5.40 and 6.0.
Max Fried and Kyle Wright have been excellent to begin the season, but the rest of the rotation has dragged the whole team down.