In recent years, when the Cubs have played in Atlanta, they've done so in July or August, when temperatures are usually in the 90s and the humidity is about 1,000 percent. (OK, I'm exaggerating, but just a little.)
So early April should be more pleasant, right? Well... yes, but playing two night games might not be such a good idea. Here's the evening forecast:
Mostly clear, with a low around 45. North wind 5 to 1O mph, with gusts as high as 2O mph.
Not as frigid as Pittsburgh, but not warm, either. The Braves have already played a home series, so I can understand scheduling a Friday night game, but I wonder why they didn't play Saturday afternoon. The way the weather's looking next week in Chicago, the Cubs might play just one game in decent weather (Sunday afternoon in Atlanta, where the forecast high is 73) until they get to Miller Park on Friday, April 19.
Sappelt CF, Castro SS, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Hairston RF, Castillo C, Lillibridge 3B, Gonzalez 2B, Feldman P
Once again, the lineup against left-handed pitchers. But you see how Dale Sveum views Brent Lillibridge's defense at second base; he's switched him with Alberto Gonzalez. I'd bet Luis Valbuena will be substituted when RHP relievers come into the game in the late innings.
Simmons SS, Heyward RF, Upton LF, Freeman 1B, Upton CF, Uggla 2B, Francisco 3B, Gattis C, Minor P
That's Justin Upton in left field, and B.J. Upton in center field.
Today's Starting Pitchers
Scott Feldman didn't have a very good spring. No, check that. He had a really bad spring, getting pounded every time out. He has faced the Braves once in his career -- in 2008, so there's not much we can get from that. The only Braves player who has faced him more than five times is B.J. Upton -- 1-for-11. So that's good. What can we expect tonight? Who knows?
Mike Minor made one start against the Cubs last year, July 5 in Atlanta, and gave up two earned runs in 6⅓ innings and got the win. He gave up a homer, but it was to Geovany Soto, who isn't on the team any more. The only other Cub to homer off Minor is Alfonso Soriano; overall, current Cubs are 13-for-55 (.236) against him. Clearly, we could be doomed.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago Plus (check your cable/satellite system for channel).
Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Baseball-reference.com game preview
Please visit our SB Nation Braves site Talking Chop.
Here's how we're going to do game threads this year, as it seems to have worked well during spring training. 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 (like today), that will usually be 90 minutes.
As has been the case during spring training, 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 game time, then an overflow one hour, two hours and 2:45 after game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.