Right-hander Tyler Chatwood will look for his first win in a Chicago Cubs uniform when he pitches Sunday afternoon against the Atlanta Braves at Wrigley Field.
Chatwood (0-2, 4.91 ERA) has dropped his first two decisions against the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates since he signed a three-year, $38 million deal with the Cubs in December. The 28-year-old won 20 games the past two seasons with the Colorado Rockies, where thinner air at Coors Field can be difficult on pitchers.
"He's uber-talented, a right-hander moving into his prime, who has great makeup and we think his best days are ahead of him," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said to the team's official website after the signing. "We're getting him into an environment where we think he can gain consistency with all of his pitches and play to his strengths more.
"We're excited to slot him into the rotation. He's a guy we've been after for a while."
Chicago (7-7) could use a lift from Chatwood as it looks to generate more positive momentum after a wild comeback win Saturday afternoon. The Cubs have gone 2-3 at home with cold, wet conditions blanketing many of their early games.
In seven career games (five starts) against the Braves, Chatwood is 2-2 with a 5.60 ERA. He has walked 20 and struck out 22 in 27 1/3 innings. Although the numbers suggest turbulence, he has held the Braves scoreless in his last nine innings.
Meanwhile, Atlanta (8-6) will look to bounce back for a series win. The Braves are 4-4 away from home but have outscored opponents 34-29 in those games. The mood is brighter for a team that limped to a 6-12 start a season ago.
The Braves will turn to right-hander Julio Teheran (0-1, 7.07 ERA), who also is looking to turn the page on a disappointing start to the season. The 27-year-old from Colombia endured rocky starts against the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals but bounced back in his third outing on April 9 against Washington. He allowed two runs and five hits in six innings.
In seven career starts against the Cubs, Teheran is 2-1 with a 3.09 ERA. He has walked 13 and struck out 43 in 43 2/3 innings. He lost his only matchup against Chicago in 2017 despite posting a quality start with two runs allowed in six innings.
At the plate, Ozzie Albies will look to stay hot for the Braves. The 21-year-old second baseman slugged a leadoff home run Saturday to give him five long balls this season. He hit six homers in 217 at-bats a year ago.
"He's going to do something every game to impress you or wow you," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said to the team's official website. "He's been doing it on both sides of the ball right now. He's at the top of the lineup creating havoc, and he's doing a great job."
Fellow second baseman Javier Baez leads the Cubs with four home runs, but he has struggled to reach base consistently to start the 2018 season. Baez has one hits in his last 12 at-bats and is hitting .191 (9-for-47) this year.