Braves and Cubs Clash in Key NL Matchup

The Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs face off in a pivotal National League series from May 13-15, 2024. The Braves boast a potent offense, while the Cubs' bullpen struggles have been a major weakness.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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Braves and Cubs Clash in Key NL Matchup

Braves and Cubs Clash in Key NL Matchup

The Atlanta Braves (24-13) and Chicago Cubs (24-17) are set to face off in a pivotal National League series from May 13-15, 2024. The Braves currently trail the Philadelphia Phillies by two games in the NL East, while the Cubs sit just a half-game behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.

The Braves enter the series with a potent offense, boasting a .740 team OPS that ranks sixth-best in baseball. Despite slow starts from star players Ronald Acuña Jr. and Matt Olson, the Braves have been carried by the scorching hot bat of Marcell Ozuna, who has launched 12 home runs and posted a 1.042 OPS, trailing only Shohei Ohtani for the highest mark in MLB.

On the mound, the Braves sport a 3.47 team ERA, good for 10th in the league. The return of Chris Sale has provided a major boost to the rotation, as the veteran left-hander has posted a 2.95 ERA with 52 strikeouts in 43.2 innings. Staff ace Max Fried is off to a slower start compared to his dominant 2023 campaign but remains a formidable presence atop the rotation. In the bullpen, Raisel Iglesias has notched 10 saves as the closer, with Joe Jiménez excelling in a setup role and 40-year-old Jesse Chavez continuing to defy Father Time with strong performances.

The Cubs, meanwhile, have received a lift from the returns of Cody Bellinger, Seiya Suzuki, and Justin Steele from injury. However, their bullpen has been a major weakness, with an unstable relief corps turning nearly every game into a high-wire act. The Cubs are coming off a wild series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, with their bullpen's struggles on full display due to injuries and poor performances.

With both teams jockeying for position in their respective divisions and the Braves' powerful lineup set to test the Cubs' shaky bullpen, this series has all the makings of an early-season thriller. The outcome could have significant implications on the National League playoff picture as the season approaches the quarter mark.

Key Takeaways

  • Braves (24-13) face Cubs (24-17) in pivotal NL series from May 13-15, 2024.
  • Braves boast .740 team OPS, 6th-best in MLB, led by Marcell Ozuna's 12 HRs.
  • Braves' pitching staff features 3.47 team ERA, 10th in MLB, with Chris Sale's 2.95 ERA.
  • Cubs' bullpen struggles continue, with injuries and poor performances.
  • Series outcome could impact NL playoff picture as season approaches quarter mark.