Atlanta Braves look to crush Cubs playoff chances with three-game sweep

The Atlanta Braves have stunned the Chicago Cubs in back-to-back games for the series win. They will push for the series sweep on Thursday evening.

Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves
Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

After two dramatic come-from-behind victories, the Atlanta Braves are on the cusp of an electric three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs at Truist Park.

Ronald Acuña Jr. made baseball history on Wednesday night by stealing bases 69 and 70, becoming the first member of the 40/70 club with a steal of second base in the 10th inning. He streaked across home one pitch later to cap off a walk-off victory for the Braves.

Atlanta is hoping to continue its hot streak and clinch home-field advantage through the World Series with a win on Thursday night against the Cubs.

What to watch for in Thursday's game

Smith-Shawver's Swan Song

In what could be his final appearance for the Atlanta Braves in 2023, rookie AJ Smith-Shawver takes the ball for his first appearance for the Braves since July 30, where he pitched 5.1 innings against the Brewers.

He's had a successful season on the Braves farm, posting a 2.76 ERA across three levels of the minors. Now, he'll end the year with one more audition for the Braves rotation in 2024.

Much like Darius Vines on Wednesday night, if Atlanta can get five to six innings from Smith-Shawver, it would go a long way for the Braves pitching heading into the postseason.

Ronald's going streaking

In the midst of his historic accomplishment on Wednesday, Ronald Acuña Jr. still found time to continue to provide meaningful contributions to the juggernaut Braves offense in the win.

The MVP front-runner tallied two hits to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, currently the fourth-longest active streak in major league baseball.

Even if he weren't to get another hit the rest of the year, this red-hot finish is solidifying his candidacy for NL Most Valuable Player for 2023.

The series finale for the Braves and Cubs is tonight at 7:20 PM EST. The game can be watched on Bally Sports South and MLB Network (out-of-market only).