Braves turn to Charlie Morton in quest for sweep of Cubs

Veteran Charlie Morton will try to extend Atlanta’s stretch of dominant pitching at home on Wednesday when the Braves host the Chicago Cubs in the finale of their three-game series.

The Braves have won six of their past seven games and have shut out the Cubs in consecutive outings, winning 2-0 on Monday and 7-0 on Tuesday. The Braves have gone 30 straight innings without giving up a run at Truist Park.

Morton (3-0, 3.14 ERA) draws the starting assignment against Chicago’s Javier Assad (3-0, 1.70) in a matchup of right-handers.

Morton will be making his eighth start. He threw seven strong innings in his most recent start on Friday against the New York Mets, allowing one run on three hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. The 40-year-old also surpassed 2,000 innings for his career.

“That’s a lot,” Morton said. “It’s something to be proud of and something to experience with this group here is pretty special.”

“He amazes me every time he goes out there,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said.

Morton has made 18 career starts against the Cubs, going 4-7 with a 5.27 ERA. He made one start against the Cubs in 2023 and took the loss after surrendering five runs in 4 1/3 innings.

Assad’s most recent start came on Friday at Pittsburgh. He received no-decision after working 4 1/3 innings and giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts. He has not allowed more than two runs in any of his eight starts this season.

Assad has made three career appearances (one start) against the Braves, going 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA. He started against the Braves last season and was lifted after allowing two runs on five hits, two walks and three strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.

The Cubs will be without reliever Adbert Alzolay, who has a right flexor strain and was placed on the 15-day injured list on Monday. It’s the same injury that sidelined him in September.

Alzolay joins fellow pitchers Yency Almonte (right shoulder strain), Caleb Kilian (right shoulder strain), Julian Merryweather (rib stress fracture), Jordan Wicks (left forearm strain), Drew Smyly (right hip impingement) and Daniel Palencia (right shoulder strain) on the injured list.

Chicago acquired right-handed reliever Tyson Miller from Seattle on Monday for minor league infielder Jake Slaughter. Miller was designated for assignment by the Mariners after compiling a 3.09 ERA in nine games. The Cubs designated Rich Lovelady for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster. Miller made his Chicago debut on Tuesday and threw two scoreless innings.

“Anytime you have a number of your players hurt, you’ve got to make adjustments, and we’ve got to be willing to adjust on the fly and adapt on the fly and change directions when needed,” Chicago manager Craig Counsell said. “Our guys have done a really good job of that and that’s what periods like this require. But it’s part of a baseball season, teams go through it and you just do your best with it.”

The Cubs were without shortstop Nico Hoerner on Tuesday. He was a late scratch because of left hamstring tightness and is day-to-day.

Atlanta third baseman Austin Riley has missed the last two games due to tightness in his left side and is day-to-day.

–Field Level Media