Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves Free Pick - 9/21/13
Atlanta Braves (91-62) at Chicago Cubs (64-90)
MLB Baseball: Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 4:05 pm (Wrigley Field)
Kris Medlen (R) (14-11) (3.325) vs. Travis Wood (L) (9-11) (3.047)
The Line: Chicago Cubs / Atlanta Braves --- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
TV: SportsTime Ohio, WGN-Chicago
The Atlanta Braves look to lock up their first NL East title in eight years with another win over the Cubs.
Atlanta hasn't been playing well, but consecutive victories might be the spark they need to get hot over the final weeks as they motor towards the postseason. Atlanta pounded out a 9-5 win at Wrigley Field on Friday with a four run 9th breaking a 5-5 tie. The offensive explosion overcame a poor pitching performance from Paul Maholm, who was charged with four runs on eight hits over 5.1 frames. The bats launched an eight hit, eight walk attack that saw Freddie Freeman smack a three run bomb, while Andrelton Simmons and Chris Johnson knocked in two runs each. Kris Medlen gets the ball against the Cubs, looking to give Atlanta their third straight win. Medlen has been red-hot over his last ten outings, with quality starts in eight of ten while going 8-2.
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Chicago has been struggling over the past few weeks and some would say they have struggled throughout 2013. I saw an improved team early on, but one that still needs a few bats and arms to be a consistent winner. The Cubs aren't a big offensive team so when they score they have to win, which didn't happen Friday versus visiting Atlanta. Scott Baker was charged with five runs through four frames before Kevin Gregg absorbed the loss, with four runs plated in the 9th on three hits and three bases on balls. The offense kept the team alive with some power baseball that saw Starlin Castro, Daniel Murphy and Dioner Navarro crack home runs. Left-hander Travis Wood looks to control a dangerous Atlanta lineup when he toes the rubber Saturday. Wood has been one of the Cubs best hurlers, but he doesn't always get a lot of support with a 9-11 record and 3.05 ERA.
I am leaning Braves here with Medlen, who has ben super dependable. Wood might be the best the Cubs have, but the Braves have to get rolling with the postseason on the horizon. I have to see a line, though, before a decision.