The Atlanta Braves entered their weekend series against the Chicago Cubs in position to match the longest, modern-era winning streak in team history.
Now, they hope to avoid their longest losing skid of the season.
Looking to prevent a three-game sweep at the hands of the lowly Cubs, the visiting Braves try to get back on track Sunday.
Atlanta averaged 7.2 runs during its 14-game winning streak — one off its modern-era, franchise-long run set in 2000. But after that ended with Friday’s 1-0 loss at Chicago, the Braves fell 6-3 on Saturday to lose back-to-back games for the first time since May 30-31.
“Just got to keep banging it,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It’s what keeps us coming back.”
Though the Braves are in danger of losing three straight for the first time in 2022, the confidence earned from their winning streak doesn’t seem to have diminished.
“We’ve got a really good group,” Braves pitcher Charlie Morton told Bally Sports South and Bally Sports Southeast. “(You don’t realize) how difficult it was to do what the guys did (during the winning streak).”
Meanwhile, the Cubs, at 15 games below .500, secured their first winning series since May 16-18, by winning back-to-back contests for the first time since June 1-2.
“We’re really positive around here,” Chicago catcher Willson Contreras, who had three hits Saturday and is 10-for-25 with four RBIs in his last six games, told Marquee Sports Network. “Hopefully we can continue to find a way to win more games.”
Chicago, which hasn’t swept a home series against the Braves since 2015, faces Ian Anderson (5-3, 4.81 ERA), who has posted a 6.18 ERA in his last five starts.
However, the right-hander is 2-1 during that stretch, as his teammates have provided him 9.43 runs per game.
Anderson likely needs to be sharper after he allowed four runs, six hits and four walks over four innings while not factoring in the decision of a 9-5 win at Washington on Monday.
In his only appearance against the Cubs, Anderson was simply stellar in allowing one hit and a walk while striking out eight over seven scoreless innings in April 2021.
Chicago counters with Kyle Hendricks (2-5, 4.95), who has not completed more than five innings in any of his last four starts.
After a shoulder issue sidelined him nearly two weeks, the right-hander threw five scoreless innings on Tuesday against San Diego. He left after yielding a leadoff double in the sixth with Chicago leading 5-0.
However, that runner came home with the only run charged to Hendricks. He also yielded three other hits and fanned six without a walk in a game the Cubs ended up losing 12-5.
Hendricks was 1-1 with a 2.91 ERA in his first four career starts versus Atlanta. Then last season, he allowed 14 runs and 18 hits — seven for homers — over 7 2/3 innings in losing both starts against the Braves.
Atlanta’s Marcell Ozuna is batting .378 with three home runs and 11 RBIs versus Hendricks. Meanwhile, Austin Riley and Travis d’Arnaud are a combined 5-for-10 with a homer apiece against him.
Adam Duvall, who homered Saturday, is a .313 hitter against Hendricks.
–Field Level Media