Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves - 4/29/16 MLB Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Atlanta Braves (5-17) at Chicago Cubs (16-5)
MLB Baseball: Friday, April 29, 2016 at 2:20 pm (Wrigley Field)
Aaron Blair (0-1) (5.07) vs. J Lester (2-1) (1.98)
The Line: Chicago Cubs -275 / Atlanta Braves +250 --- Over/Under: 8 See the Latest Odds
TV: FSSO, CSCh
Friday afternoon in MLB action, we’ve got game one of a weekend series between the Atlanta Braves and the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs are coming off a series against the Brewers. The Cubs took game one of that matchup 4-3, then got rained out on Wednesday. As for Thursday, Chicago scored five runs in the first three innings on the way to a 7-2 victory. Meanwhile, the Braves just finished up a four-game set against the Red Sox. Atlanta dropped the first three games by a combined 21-9, then in the Thursday finale surprised Boston with a 5-3 victory.
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Chicago will be bringing out left-hander Jon Lester for Friday’s game. So far in 2016, Lester has tallied a 1.98 ERA with a 0.84 WHIP across 27.1 innings in four starts. Last Friday, Lester posted his second win of the year against the Reds, holding Cincinnati to five hits and one run across seven innings.
The electric Cubs batting order features plenty of up-and-coming stars. Dexter Fowler has been an early standout, with his 27 hits, 18 runs and 15 RBI. Kris Bryant has also become a fan favorite with 24 hits, four homers and 15 RBI. Anthony Rizzo leads the team on eight homers and 23 RBI, but has struggled with his batting average (.213).
As for the Braves, we’ll be seeing right-hander Aaron Blair take the mound for them on Friday. Blair has made just once in the majors, making his debut on Sunday in a loss against the Mets. During that one, Blair tossed 5.1 innings, allowing three runs on six hits for a respectable outing.
Even though Atlanta is pretty terrible right now, we’re still seeing some great individual efforts from time to time in their lineup. Adonis Garcia has been solid on 23 hits and seven runs, while Nick Markakis has hit 25 times with a team-high 19 RBI. Markakis was the hero of the Red Sox finale with his 4-for-5 line and three RBI. The Braves are lacking in power hitters, but they do have Freddie Freeman, who has two homers and six RBI this year. Freeman went 3-for-4 on Thursday to raise his BA to .247 on the year.
The Braves are 3-7 in their last 10 Friday games, and 1-4 in their last five road games against a left-handed starter. The Cubs are 23-7 in their last 30 game ones of a series, and 4-0 in Lester’s last four starts against a team with a losing record.
Far be it for me to pick the Braves on anything this year, especially against a red-hot Cubs team. I’ll take Lester and Chicago here all day long, despite the hefty buy-in.