Cubs vs Braves – MLB Pick for May 16th

by Taylor Smith
on May 16, 2018

Minute Read

Chicago Cubs (-102)
Atlanta Braves (-108)
Total: 9.5

Following a narrow 3-2 loss at the hands of the Cubs in Tuesday’s series opener, the Atlanta Braves will look to bounce back and even the series on Wednesday night. Veteran right-hander Brandon McCarthy will take the mound for the Braves against Cubs righty Tyler Chatwood.

McCarthy’s Braves career got off to a fine enough start, but he’s fallen off a cliff in his last couple of outings. In his last 2 starts against the Giants and Marlins, McCarthy has allowed a combined 14 earned runs on 23 hits in 8.1 innings of work. He’s also struck out just 5 in that span while allowing 3 home runs.

He has a history as a solid starter, but it’s worth noting he’s a 34-year-old with a lengthy injury track record. His strikeout rate is down to 16.5 percent this season, with walks around 8 percent. McCarthy has had a slight ground ball lean over the course of his career, but he’s far from an extreme ground ball guy like a Dallas Keuchel.

McCarthy has also shown what amounts to be a neutral platoon split, though he has been slightly better against lefties. Still, considering his current ragged form, a date with the Cubs in a hitter-friendly setting in Atlanta isn’t really what the doctor ordered. We know Chicago’s lineup is littered with power bats, which could result in a third straight rough outing for the right-hander.

Chatwood, who is also in his first season with his new team, has pitched decently. He’s allowed more than 3 earned runs in just 1 of his first 7 starts as a Cub, which is fine. One problem with him so far this season has been the walks. Chatwood has a ghastly walk rate over 19 percent. If that keeps up, he’s going to have some serious issues this season.

In fact, Chatwood has walked at least 5 hitters in 5 of his 7 starts already. The fact that he has a 3.35 ERA with all those walks is something of a miracle. His ground ball rate nearly 52 percent helps him get out of trouble, but his 5.64 SIERA indicates he’s been incredibly lucky to this point.

It’s hard to put too much stock in Chatwood’s career numbers because he spent the first several years of his career pitching in the hitting haven known as Coors Field, but so far this season we’ve seen a pretty wide platoon split. He’s held righties in check (.279 wOBA), but lefties have given him trouble (.339 wOBA). Chatwood has only allowed 1 home run so far this season, but he’s also been fairly lucky, as opposing hitters are hitting just .197 against him so far.

Given McCarthy’s shoddy form and the fact that I believe Chatwood has been pitching over his head, I think both offenses are in strong spots tonight. McCarthy just hasn’t been missing enough bats, while Chatwood’s insane walk numbers have to come back and haunt him at some point.

Considering this game is also taking place in a favorable ballpark for hitting, I like the over on 9 ½ runs in this one.

Pick: Over 9.5

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