Cubs vs. Braves Preview, Sunday 7/13, 1:20 CT

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs haven't won a home series in more than a month, and are 5-7 since they last won one (against the Marlins in June). They have a chance to break that today and end the first half on a high note.

One more game and then the Cubs, and everyone else in baseball (except, of course, the All-Stars) get four days off. With the Cubs having lost a Star Trekkian seven-of-their-last-nine, perhaps they could use that break and have a nice fresh start Friday in Arizona. Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo will head to Minneapolis for the All-Star festivities and join up with former teammate Jeff Samardzija, who is sort-of representing the Cubs. Speaking of which, here's an interesting idea regarding All-Star Shark from Bruce Miles.

The schedule does get a bit easier after the break, as 10 of the first 13 post-break games are against N.L. West teams with losing records (the Diamondbacks and Rockies). Despite the recent skid, the Cubs are one game over .500 since they defeated the Brewers at Wrigley Field May 17 -- 27-26 including that game. A win today would mean that over a span of exactly one-third of a full season, 54 games, they'd have played two games over the break-even point.

That's progress. A little.

Cubs lineup:

Coghlan LF, Alcantara 2B, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Valbuena 3B, Ruggiano CF, Sweeney RF, Baker C, Wood P

The Braves lineup was not available at the time I wrote this post. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for the Braves lineup.

Today's Starting Pitchers

Travis Wood

Travis Wood


Cubs

vs. Julio Teheran

Julio Teheran


Braves

vs. Atl

--

vs. Cubs

It would be really nice if Travis Wood could have a good outing leading into the All-Star break. A year ago he was getting ready to head to New York for the All-Star Game. This year, he'll need a good second half just to go into 2015 solidly. He has not faced the Braves this year. His last start against them was September 21, 2013 at Wrigley Field, the day before the Braves clinched the N.L. East. Wood allowed just one run in seven innings that day. A repeat of that would be nice.

At age 23 Julio Teheran has become one of the top starters in the National League. His previous start against the Cubs this year (May 9 at Atlanta) was outstanding -- he gave up just one hit, a solo homer by Mike Olt. He walked two in that outing and struck out nine, and the lack of walks has been one of the things he has done best this year -- just 28 walks in 129⅓ innings. His inning count ranks third in the National League; he has thrown at least six innings in 17 of his 19 starts and at least seven in 13 of 19.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago.

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.

For 2014, we are going to have the same game-thread routine as 2013. Here's how it works.

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.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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