Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves Preview, Monday 5/7, 7:05 CT

What did Dave McKay say to Jeff to make him grin like this? Jeff Samardzija of the Chicago Cubs, who was hit by a pitch in the 11th inning while pinch-hitting, is congratulated by first base coach Dave McKay after a win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Dodgers 4-3 in 11 innings. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Last year, the Cubs went into Atlanta and took two of three, including this wacky game where the Cubs made four errors and struck out 18 times, but won anyway 6-5. The only game they lost in that series was the Carlos Zambrano walkout game, the last appearance he made in a Cubs uniform.

Ten days later, the Braves came to Chicago and won three of four, outscoring the Cubs 18-10. The Braves are off to a good start and come here just half a game behind the first-place Nationals in the NL East, and having swept the Rockies.

So this series ought to be a good test for the Cubs, who have played better for the last couple of weeks.

If you missed it in the colossally-long post from this morning, here's the Cubs' roster move for the day:

Cubs lineup:

DeJesus RF, Campana CF, Castro SS, LaHair 1B, Stewart 3B, Johnson LF, Barney 2B, Soto C, Samardzija P

Braves lineup:

Bourn CF, Prado LF, Freeman 1B, McCann C, Uggla 2B, Jones 3B, Heyward RF, Pastornicky SS, Hanson P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Jeff Samardzija
Jeff Samardzija
Cubs
vs. Tommy Hanson
Tommy Hanson
Braves
3-1 W-L 3-2
3.41 ERA 3.74
32 SO 31
10 BB 14
1 HR 2
vs. Atl -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Jeff Samardzija 3-1 7 5 0 0 0 0 31.2 29 14 12 1 10 32 3.41 1.23


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Tommy Hanson 3-2 6 6 0 0 0 0 33.2 34 15 14 2 14 31 3.74 1.43

Jeff Samardzija has six career relief appearances against the Braves, covering 6⅓ innings, with a 5.68 ERA, but 1.10 WHIP. Current Braves are 7-for-26 against him with one home run (Dan Uggla). Both of those are sample sizes way too small to determine anything about tonight's game. Just hope Shark pitches as well as he did in his last outing.

Tommy Hanson has two career starts vs. the Cubs, both losses, and a 5.23 ERA in 10⅓ innings. However, pretty much all of that was against players who are no longer on the team, because current Cubs are just 2-for-8 against him, and of that, 2-for-4 with a home run belongs to Ian Stewart. So what will happen tonight? It's anyone's guess, at least based on this.

One thing we do know: this matchup might feature the most hair of any two starting pitchers in baseball.

Today's game is on WCIU, which means hardly anyone will get to see it. If you have EI or MLB.TV, you'll probably get the Atlanta feed. 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 post at 7:05 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 8:05, 9:05 and 9:50 p.m. CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section. Thanks to Clutch16 for the additional overflows yesterday.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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