Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves Preview, Friday 8/12, 6:35 CT: A New Era

No, Danny, you're out: Danny Espinosa of the Washington Nationals is tagged out at second base by Darwin Barney of the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Nationals 4-3. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

Here's how long it's been since the Cubs last played the Braves: the last time these two teams met, the Cubs had a different manager. It's been nearly a full calendar year; August 22, 2010 at Wrigley Field was the last time these teams played each other, the last game Lou Piniella managed.

Tonight, the Braves will honor their retired manager, Bobby Cox, by retiring his uniform No. 6. After that, the two teams will begin their three-game series -- and then, the Cubs will play the Braves again at Wrigley Field in a four-game set starting 10 days from now. That'll be the entire season series between the two teams, squished into a two-week period. Nice scheduling, MLB.

One more notable thing to watch for tonight: the Braves' Dan Uggla will be looking to extend his hitting streak to 32 games. When the streak started on July 5 he was hitting .173. He's still hitting just .224 -- but .355 during the streak, which is quite an amazing turnaround.

Yesterday, during the seventh-inning stretch at Wrigley, I heard some commotion and cheering in the seats near the Cubs bullpen. I didn't know what that was all about -- until BCB reader Jack Ferry emailed me the details of:

... the marriage proposal that took place in the lower box seats at Aisle 4 during the 7th inning stretch -- "take me out to the ballgame". A full dressed Marine proposed to his girl friend -- surrounded by a huge crowd of fans. Tom Ricketts was there along with several other Cubs officials.

The "boys" in the bullpen signed a baseball for them and the Cubs gave them a "goodie bag".

Congratulations to the newly engaged couple. Now, let's win a couple of these games.

Cubs lineup:

Castro SS, Johnson RF, Ramirez 3B, Soto C, Byrd CF, Pena 1B, Soriano LF, Baker 2B, Zambrano P

Well, Mike Minor is a lefthander.

Braves lineup:

Bourn CF, Prado LF, Freeman 1B, Uggla 2B, Jones 3B, Gonzalez SS, Ross C, Constanza RF, Minor P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
Carlos Zambrano
Cubs
vs. Mike Minor
Mike Minor
Braves
9-6 W-L 1-2
4.46 ERA 4.85
98 SO 31
56 BB 17
14 HR 0
vs. Atl -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Carlos Zambrano 9-6 24 23 0 0 0 0 141.1 146 72 70 14 56 98 4.46 1.43


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Mike Minor 1-2 7 7 0 0 0 0 39.0 45 21 21 0 17 31 4.85 1.59

Carlos Zambrano last pitched against the Braves -- and in Atlanta -- on April 5, 2010. I assume you remember that outing well and don't have to click on the link. (Don't say I didn't warn you.) Among all NL teams he has faced, Big Z has his highest career ERA (5.43 in 12 starts) against the Braves. Current Braves are hitting .252 (32-for-127) against him.

Mike Minor was the starting pitcher against the Cubs in that August 22, 2010 game at Wrigley Field that was Lou Piniella's final game as a manager. Minor put up a quality start (three ER, six IP) and struck out 12, though he didn't need to, as the Braves were scoring at will that day. Aramis Ramirez homered that afternoon off Minor.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago and SportSouth. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Braves site Talking Chop.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 6:35 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 7:30 pm, 8:30 pm and 9:15 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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