Cubs host high-scoring Braves in showdown of division leaders

Adbert Alzolay made quite a splash in his major league debut for the Chicago Cubs. Now he'll try to build on that success when he makes his first career start against the visiting Atlanta Braves on Tuesday.

Alzolay (1-0, 2.25) will open the second game of the four-game series at Wrigley Field against Atlanta left-hander Max Fried (8-3, 4.08).

The Cubs beat the Braves 8-3 on Monday in the first game of the series between two of the National League's division leaders. Atlanta leads the season series 3-1.

Alzolay, a 24-year-old rookie right-hander, made his debut on June 20 against the New York Mets. He worked four-plus innings of relief and allowed only one run, that coming on a solo homer. Alzolay struck out five and walked two to become the first Cub to win his major league debut since Ryan O'Malley on Aug. 16, 2006, at Houston.

Alzolay is ranked as the organization's No. 4 prospect by A native of Venezuela, he was signed as a 17-year-old non-drafted free agent in 2012. Alzolay has battled back from a 2018 season that was cut short because of a lat injury. In six starts this season with Triple-A Iowa, he was 2-1 with a 3.09 ERA, striking out 46 and walking only six over 32 innings.

"The best thing that ever happened to me," Alzolay said after his debut. "All the people were cheering my name. I did my job, did my part and we got the game. It's amazing."

Alzolay replaced emergency starter Tyler Chatwood to start the fifth inning. He did not allow a hit until giving up the home run to start the ninth. Alzolay was lifted after walking the next batter.

"It was nice for him to get called up," first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. "It was a long time coming. He was hurt last year. To pitch well like that at home, it's a good way to break in."

While Alzolay's long-term status in the Chicago rotation is uncertain, the same can't be said for Atlanta's Fried. He has developed into one of the team's most reliable starters after opening the season in the bullpen.

Fried will be making his 18th appearance and 16th start for the Braves. He has endured an inconsistent June, going 1-0 with a 6.53 in four starts this month, but he looked good in his last outing on June 19 against the Mets. Fried allowed two runs on eight hits over six innings with six strikeouts. It was his first win since May 22.

"Those left arms don't come around very often," Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "He has a great stuff, a great mind. Everybody is going to go through ups and downs their first season. He went through the downs and now he's back."

This will be Fried's third career start against the Cubs. He is 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA, allowing only one run in 11 innings against Chicago. He beat them on April 4 in Atlanta when he threw six shutout innings, giving up only one hit, in his first start of the season, a game the Braves won 9-4.

--Field Level Media
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