A day after gaining possession of first place, the Braves look to achieve a record above .500 for the first time this season.
Thursday has arguably been the best day of the week so far for the Braves this season. A big reason why is mainly because it has frequently been an off-day that has followed a needed win so the Braves did not fall into too big of a hole early on. However, today is the best Thursday of all. Despite all their struggles and injuries to start the season, the Braves are currently back at a .500 record (their second time this season) and are once again at the top of the NL East.
A major positive that has shined this season for the Braves is their ability to bounce back. Many times this year and over the past few years when it seemed that the Braves were at a point where it was time for concern to set in, they have quickly righted the ship and emerged victorious. A great example is the fact that the Braves were able to win a close game on Monday and have outscored the Cubs 15-0 over the past two days after being completely shut down by the Diamondbacks on Sunday.
Atlanta actually achieved their second and third shut outs of the season over the past two days, as Ian Anderson and Huascar Ynoa both looked amazing. Both young hurlers have looked great in the early going of the season, a big development with the injury to Max Fried and setbacks experienced by Mike Soroka. A total of 12 1⁄3 combined innings between both of them has also allowed a highly-used Braves bullpen to get a bit of a rest as well.
The Braves hope to earn a sweep against the Chicago Cubs today, and hope to use a bit of 2020 pitching magic to do it. Yes, the Braves did not have a lot of magic from their starting rotation in 2020. However, due to their struggles, they did gain plenty of experience when using an “opener” that paid off at times down the stretch and in the postseason.
Bryse Wilson will be tasked with the role of “opener” in today’s game. Wilson was actually last seen during the Braves Sunday struggles. Overall, in nine innings this season, Wilson has allowed 11 hits, six runs (five unearned), three walks and five strikeouts. Wilson’s issue this season is that he has also yielded four home runs over his two starts as well. This is a continuing issue for Wilson over his young career, as he has now allowed 11 home runs over 51 2⁄3 career innings. The Braves will make sure to watch Wilson’s effectiveness today as he faces the Cubs for the second time in three starts.
For the Cubs, Adbert Alzolay will take the mound. He has made three starts this year, all against the Brewers. Over 15 innings, he has produced a 5.40 ERA compared to a 3.35 FIP along with 5 walks compared to 17 strikeouts. Alzolay has certainly run into a lack of luck; however, the Braves have to feel confident in finding some success against Alzolay with how the offense is performing. If Wilson can be somewhat effective and a fresh bullpen can do well, the Braves should have their chance to win.
It will be a fun night to hopefully earn the sweep and finally get the run the Braves have needed to get his season back going strong.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, April 29, 7:20 p.m. ET
Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: Bally Sports South
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network