Neither the Chicago Cubs nor the Atlanta Braves plan to change their approach after both had their lengthy streaks come to an end.
The Cubs halted their 10-game losing streak on Friday with a 1-0 win over the Braves, who had won 14 in a row. They meet in the second game of three-game series on Saturday at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, where the wind was blowing in on Friday and kept several well-struck balls from both clubs from leaving the park.
The starting pitchers will be Chicago left-hander Justin Steele (1-5, 4.33 ERA) and Atlanta right-hander Kyle Wright (7-3, 2.57).
Chicago’s win was its first since the opening game of a doubleheader against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 4. The Cubs had a lead in seven of the 10 straight losses, including all four games against the San Diego Padres in the series that preceded the current one against Atlanta.
“Look, we’ve had some ugly ones lately,” Chicago manager David Ross said, “but I haven’t questioned the effort or intensity of the guys. Nobody’s been making excuses. (Friday’s game) could easily have gone the other way and we’d really not be in a good place if we lose that game. So I think that’s what it’s all about, continue to fight and the starting pitcher kind of sets the tone with that.”
That means Steele, who has allowed three or fewer runs in six of his past seven starts and has a 2.37 ERA over his past three starts. He pitched well in his last outing on Monday, a no-decision against San Diego, going seven innings and allowing one run on six hits with three strikeouts.
Steele will make his first career start against Atlanta. He pitched a scoreless inning of relief against the Braves on April 16, 2021, in his only previous appearance against them.
Atlanta’s winning streak was the longest in the majors this season and wound up one short the franchise record. The 2000 Braves won 15 straight games. Now it’s back to business.
“Right now we’ve got to go back to win one (Saturday) and put ourselves in a chance to win a series,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “I’ve always said, it’s hard to win a major league game and to do it this many straight, but these guys kept an even keel and came to work to win a ballgame every day. I mean, that’s just who these guys are. It’s a consistent group.”
Wright has been the team’s most consistent right-handed starter, completing five innings in 11 of his 12 starts. Wright has won three straight and beat the Pirates on Sunday when he gave up three runs in six innings while striking out seven.
Wright is 1-0 with a 2.38 ERA in two career starts against Chicago. He last faced the Cubs on April 28 and came away with a victory after tossing seven innings and giving up one run.
The Cubs may be without first baseman Frank Schwindel, who leads the club with 24 RBIs and 35 hits since May 11. He had to leave the Friday game after experiencing lower back pain while running out a ground ball. Ross said the team would examine Schwindel in the morning and make a decision at that time.
–Field Level Media