Braves visit Cubs for makeup game
Two hot teams will square off when the Chicago Cubs host the Atlanta Braves on Monday afternoon at Wrigley Field in a makeup game from an April 15 rainout.
Chicago (21-16) has won five of six games despite dropping Sunday's series finale to the crosstown Chicago White Sox. The Cubs have scored 53 runs in their past six games.
Yet shortstop Addison Russell and his teammates believe that they are capable of doing more.
"We haven't hit that spark, you know," said Russell, who is batting .250 with one home run and eight RBIs in 36 games. "We're playing some pretty good baseball right now. I can only imagine when we all click."
Meanwhile, Atlanta (24-15) sits atop the National League East in what has proved to be a dramatic turnaround from last season. The Braves also have won five of their past six games, including two in a row against the Miami Marlins during the weekend.
The Cubs and Braves split their first two games of the year, scoring 14 runs each.
Braves center fielder Ender Inciarte heads into the game as one of the hottest hitters in baseball. He has four multi-hit performances in the past five days, and his two-run homer Sunday helped lift Atlanta to a win. Inciarte also has 17 stolen bases, most in the majors.
"I kind of like where he's at (in the middle of the order) because it allows him to, when he's getting all those hits, to knock runs in," Braves manager Brian Snitker said to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "And it allows him to run, albeit sometimes you wish he wouldn't. No, but when he's in the middle of the lineup, it allows him to use all his tools. He's got a whole lot of them -- stealing bags, big hits."
Cubs left-hander Jose Quintana (4-2, 4.42 ERA) will try to keep the Braves at bay. Quintana has fired two quality starts in his past three outings and has limited opponents to one earned run in his past 17 innings.
In three career starts against Atlanta, Quintana is 2-0 with a 7.71 ERA. He has walked eight and fanned 10 in 14 innings.
The Braves will counter with right-hander Julio Teheran (3-1, 3.14), who along with Quintana is one of Colombia's most prized major leaguers. Teheran has not allowed a run in two straight outings, both of which were wins.
In seven starts against the Cubs, Teheran is 2-1 with a 3.09 ERA. He has walked 13 and fanned 43 in 43 2/3 innings.
Both teams were set to celebrate "Jackie Robinson Day" in their rained-out game to honor the 71st anniversary of Robinson's debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Instead, players from both sides will wear No. 42 jerseys on Monday.
The commemoration carries special meaning at Wrigley Field, which is the only current big-league stadium in which Robinson played a game. In 93 games at the Friendly Confines, Robinson hit .295 with five home runs and 43 RBIs.
After the game, the Cubs and Braves will travel south to begin a three-game series in Atlanta starting Tuesday.
Updated May 13, 2018