Chicago Cubs series preview: Are Atlanta Braves remedy for average start?

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

Pitching experience abundant on both sides

Game 1: Friday, April 13 – 1:20 p.m. CT | Yu Darvish (0-0, 5.23) v Anibal Sánchez (0-0, 2.25)

Yu Darvish will take the ball to start the first weekend series at Wrigley Field in 2018. Darvish’s 5.23 ERA looks bad at first glance. However, it does not tell the whole story of his first two starts as a Cub.

Darvish labored through 4 1/3  innings and 102 pitches March 31 against the Marlins. He surrendered five runs on five hits (including a home run). Although the Cubs picked up a 10-6 win, Darvish was not the most effective.

April 7 was a much better go around for Darvish; he pitched six innings, allowing one run on two hits, throwing 94 pitches. Darvish’s struck out nine batters compared to just one walk.

The Minnesota Twins released Sánchez, 34, halfway through spring training before the Braves picked him up. Sánchez pitched three scoreless innings in relief on April 2, allowing no runs on one hit and three walks.

Sánchez made his first start with the Braves Saturday. In five innings against the Colorado Rockies, he allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks in five innings. Based on his two outings this season, the Cubs could benefit from a patient approach against the veteran right-hander.

Game 2: Saturday, April 14 – 1:20 p.m. CT | José Quintana (1-1, 4.50) v Sean Newcomb (1-1, 4.35)

Like Darvish, Quintana fared much better in his second start after a tough first going. He pitched four no-hit innings against the Marlins before surrendering five runs in the fifth April 1. He has pitched six innings in both starts, however.

Quintana shut down the Brewers in Miller Park for a second time as a Cub Sunday. In six innings, he allowed no runs on three hits and two walks, throwing just 87 pitches.

Newcomb’s two starts have gone quite similar to Quintana’s. He allowed six runs (five earned) in just 4 1/3 innings against the Washington Nationals on April 2. This was followed by six scoreless innings Sunday against the Rockies in which Newcomb threw just 89 pitches.