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Bryse Wilson reboots and Craig Kimbrel returns as Braves face Cubs again

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Bryse Wilson is back for the Braves. Craig Kimbrel is in the bullpen for the Cubs. It’s a time of return!

Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

After taking a second victory in a row at Wrigley Field against the Cubs, the Braves now have an opportunity to leave Chicago with a series win — depending on what happens during this afternoon’s series finale.

Going into this series, this game had the most intrigue when it came to pitching matchups since the Braves weren’t initially sure who was going to be starting today’s game. As it turned out, Mike Soroka’s forearm issues would end up pushing his regularly scheduled start back a day. There was also a vacant spot in the rotation after Mike Foltynewicz ended up getting sent to Gwinnett. Enter Bryse Wilson, who will be making his first start since March and his first appearance in the bigs since April.

Due to injuries taking a bit of a toll on Atlanta’s rotation, Wilson ended up breaking camp as one of the starters for the opening series against Philadelphia. A lot of things went awry for the Braves in that initial visit to play the Phillies, and Wilson’s start was one of them. He only lasted 4.1 innings before Philadelphia chased him after he gave up five hits, four walks, and four earned runs. It was a far cry from his only start of the 2018 season, which is when he managed to shut out the 2018 Pirates over five innings.

Fortunately, Wilson has really hit his stride in Triple-A and he’ll be coming back to the majors while riding a massive wave of confidence. With that being said, pitching against the Syracuse Mets is one thing — doing it against the Chicago Cubs is a completely different experience. The big question will be if Bryse Wilson can manage to hold the Cubs at bay and also if he can eat some innings while he’s at it. Atlanta’s rotation is in need of something good to happen and if a spark can come from Wilson, then that would be fantastic.

On the other side of things, Tyler Chatwood will be getting the ball to start the game for the Cubs. He’s spent most of the season in Chicago’s bullpen, but he was pressed into spot start duty last week against the Mets. One week later, he’s back on the mound to start a game and the Cubs will be keeping their eyes on one stat in particular: Walks. Chatwood has gained quite the reputation for handing out free passes, as he ended last season with an absurdly-high 19.2 percent walk rate and is currently sitting on a walk rate of 13.2 percent here in 2019. An improvement of six points in that department should be cause for celebration, but that’s still pretty bad and something that the Cubs will surely be hoping that he can keep under control.

Interestingly enough, Chatwood has only walked three batters combined over the 10 innings that he’s logged as a starter this season — including just one walk over four innings against the Mets last week. That start came off of a relief appearance where he walked three batters over 2.2 innings. However, he does have a couple of four-inning relief stints under his belt and in the one that occurred against the Brewers back on May 11, he walked three batters while also tallying seven strikeouts. The strikeout part may have been an aberration, since he’s sitting on a strikeout rate of 18 percent. It might boil down to the Braves just being patient at the plate and taking what Chatwood gives him. If he’s feeling “generous” with the walks, this could be a big day offensively for Atlanta.

Of course, you never want to see the Braves trailing on the road heading into the late stages of the game. You especially don’t want that to happen now, because the Cubs will be calling a familiar face up to the roster in time for today’s game.

MLB: World Series-Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Dodgers
Yep, he’s ready.
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Craig Kimbrel will be in the bullpen for the Cubs today, and it sure would be nice if we didn’t have to have a reunion with the former Braves closer today. I’d prefer to just see highlights of him doing his thing against other teams not named the Braves. This will be the last time the Braves see the Cubs during the regular season anyways, so if Atlanta doesn’t have to face him today then either something good is happening or Joe Maddon is just being really conservative.

This figures to be a very intriguing game, since both teams have an interesting starting pitching situation today and the Cubs have a big ol’ trump card that they can play at or near the end of the game if things are going their way. The Braves have already secured a split of this four-game series, and it would be golden if they could find a way to leave town by taking three out of four from the NL Central leaders. Hopefully they can make it happen.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Thursday, June 27, 2:20 p.m. ET

Location: Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois

TV: Fox Sports Southeast

Streaming: MLB.tv

Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, Rock 100.5, Braves Radio Network