Atlanta Braves: 2 NLDS Matchups if Postseason Started Today

Breaking down the Atlanta Braves' potential pathways through the postseason. Analyzing which two teams the Braves would face in the NLDS and which one would be a better matchup for Atlanta.

Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game One
Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game One / Rich Schultz/GettyImages
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Atlanta Braves NLDS Preview If Season Ended Today: Chicago Cubs

Dansby Swanson
Chicago Cubs v Colorado Rockies / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages

The Chicago Cubs have rebounded from 42-48 first half. The boys in blue are 36-19 since the All-Star Break. They are led by former Braves shortstop and World Champion Dansby Swanson. Cody Bellinger is making his case for a huge contract this offseason after getting released by the Dodgers after 2022.

Chicago Cubs Starting Pitching

The Cubs have had one standout starting pitcher this year. Justin Steele boasts a 16-3 record with a 2.49 ERA. In 159.0 innings pitched, he has 159 strikeouts and leads the league with a 180 ERA+. He is a legitimate contender for the 2023 NL Cy Young.

Also Read: Comparing Dansby Swanson and Orlando Arcia

Outside of Steele, the Cubs starting pitching rotation has been pretty inconsistent. The Cubs' best two starters behind Steele have been Marcus Stroman (3.85 ERA, 23 starts) and Kyle Hendricks (3.71 ERA, 21 starts).

Stroman has not made a start since July 31st and is on the verge of returning to the team with a bullpen role. While that bodes well for the relief core, it leaves the Cubs short in terms of starting pitching. That is exactly the opposite of what they need in order to have a chance against the best offense in baseball.

This leaves Kyle Hendricks as the next-best starter for the Cubs. The Braves have logged 162 PAs against Hendricks and have absolutely destroyed him. Braves players are hitting .372 against him with a .703 slugging percentage.

Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs Team Comparisons - SP rWAR

Atlanta Braves: 3.7 SP rWAR (5th in MLB)

Chicago Cubs: 0.8 SP rWAR (T-17th in MLB).

Advantage: Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs - RP rWAR

Atlanta Braves: 2.4 rWAR (3rd in MLB)

Chicago Cubs: 0.1 rWAR (14th in MLB)

Advantage: Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves: 3.91 ERA (6th in MLB)

Chicago Cubs: 4.01 ERA (11th in MLB)

Advantage: Atlanta Braves

The Braves will have a pretty big advantage heading into Game 1 of the NLDS against the Cubs. Chicago will have to spend their best pitcher to get through the Phillies in the first round. That will leave the options severely limited as the Braves lineup Max Fried, Spencer Strider, and Charlie Morton.

We'll take a look at how the Cubs' offense stacks up on the next page.