The Atlanta Braves hope their offense will continue to heat up on Wednesday when they host the Chicago Cubs for the third contest of the four-game series.
The Braves, who managed only one hit and no runs in a doubleheader sweep by Arizona on Sunday, have totaled 13 runs in winning the first two games against Chicago.
Dansby Swanson collected three hits in Tuesday’s 5-0 win and Ozzie Albies added a pair of doubles.
“It’s good to see,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “And Austin (Riley) is swinging the ball well. Hope they get themselves some confidence and not try to do too much.”
Slugger Ronald Acuna Jr., who had been hitless since returning from a two-game absence with a muscle strain, broke out with a 481-foot home run.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been around anybody where the ball comes off the bat like that,” Snitker said.
The Cubs continue to field a feast-or-famine offense. They are 8-2 when scoring four or more runs but just 2-11 when they score three or fewer. They are only 3-12 when outhit by the opposition.
The pitching matchups for Wednesday features Chicago’s Kyle Hendricks (1-2, 5.68 ERA) against Atlanta’s Huascar Ynoa (1-1, 3.68).
Hendricks will make his fifth start of the season, his second against the Braves and his first on the road. He earned his first win in his last start against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday, when he allowed two runs over six innings.
“There were definitely more positives to take out of this one,” Hendricks said afterwards.
Hendricks was shelled by the Braves on April 18 when he allowed seven runs on seven hits, including a career-high four home runs in the first inning.
He is 1-2 with a 4.55 ERA in six career appearances (five starts) against the Braves. In his last start in Atlanta on April 1, 2019, Hendricks allowed seven runs (two earned) on 10 hits over 4 1/3 innings in an 8-0 shellacking.
“We’ve seen Kyle go through some stretches where he’s really good and some where he’s just OK,” Chicago manager David Ross said. “He’s definitely looking to improve on his performance.”
Ynoa will be making his sixth appearance and fifth start. He bounced back from a rocky start to limit the Diamondbacks to two runs over six innings and earn his first career win on Friday. Ynoa also picked up two hits and drove in his first career run in the 5-4 win.
“He’s been really good,” Snitker said. “He had a good breaking ball (against Arizona) and he used it. I see him getting confidence in myself and I see him growing up and getting more confident. It’s fun to watch young guys when they start figuring some things out.”
Ynoa will make his second career start against the Cubs. He was roughed up for six runs on seven hits on four innings in a 13-4 loss to Chicago on April 17.
“He’s a young player. He’s a very talented kid,” Snitker said. “He’s come a long way in the last year, picking up things. I really like this kid. He doesn’t scare. He works. He’s got tools. He can fill a lot of different roles. He’s a starter right now because we need him.”
–Field Level Media