Cubs vs. Braves Preview, Saturday 9/21, 3:05 CT: No Clinching, Please

Jonathan Daniel

The Cubs have a task this afternoon. Are they up for it?

The Atlanta Braves' magic number for clinching the National League East title is 1. Thus, the Braves can win the title by defeating the Cubs this afternoon.

Personally, I'd rather not see another team celebrate by clinching at Wrigley Field. So, Cubs, please win this afternoon. If they do, the Marlins could help the Braves out by defeating the Nationals in their night game (although that didn't work out too well last night, with Washington shutting out Miami 8-0).

Besides, Wrigley Field doesn't have a swimming pool.

Cubs lineup:

Castro SS, Valbuena 3B, Rizzo 1B, Navarro C, Schierholtz RF, Sweeney CF, Bogusevic LF, Barney 2B, Wood P

Braves lineup:

Simmons SS, J. Upton RF, Freeman 1B, C. Johnson 3B, Gattis LF, Laird C, Uggla 2B, B. Upton CF, Medlen P

Today's Starting Pitchers

Travis Wood

Travis Wood


Cubs

vs. Kris Medlen

Kris Medlen


Braves

vs. Atl

--

vs. Cubs


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Travis Wood 9-11 35 30 0 0 0 0 192.0 154 69 65 18 60 136 3.05 1.11


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Kris Medlen 14-12 30 29 0 0 0 0 181.2 186 76 67 18 43 144 3.32 1.26

Due to the vagaries of playing a team outside your division, Travis Wood has not faced the Braves since he became a Cub last year. After a bit of a rough go in August, Wood has a 2.00 ERA and 1.148 WHIP in his last four starts. It would be nice to see him finish the year strong. Current members of the Braves are a small-sample-size 5-for-26 against Wood.

Kris Medlen has never faced the Cubs as a starter; he made four relief appearances against them last year (5⅔ innings, one hit, no walks, three strikeouts). Of course, hardly anyone is left from that Cubs team. Medlen has been very good this year, including a 1.85 ERA in his last seven appearances. Current Cubs are 1-for-15 against him (the one hit is a home run by Donnie Murphy). Clearly, we are doomed.

You'll also note that Medlen is the only pitcher whose posed picture day photo I have access to, where he has his glove on instead of his hands folded in front of him. Why he did this, I do not know. (Nice glove, though.)

Today's game is on WGN.

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.

Here's the scoop on game threads for 2013. You'll find the game preview -- like this one -- posting as the first link in the StoryStream™, which will then contain all the overflow threads and the recap. The recap will also be on the front page as a separate post; once I post a game recap, the stream for each game will be retitled "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.

In general, game previews will post two hours before game time. Exception: for day games after night games, that will usually be 90 minutes.

You will also be able to find the First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in this StoryStream™. As I've done for each regular-season game for several years now, we'll have the First Pitch thread at five minutes before game time (moved up from actual game time per your requests), then an overflow one hour, two hours and 2:45 after game time.

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