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Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves Preview, Friday 7/17, 6:35 CT

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The Cubs currently hold the second wild-card spot, with 75 games remaining. Can they hold on and make the postseason?

Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Well, here we go -- the first second half that's meant anything to the Cubs since 2009. That is, "meant" in any way other than positioning for the draft.

The Cubs have five straight series (16 games) against teams that currently have losing records. That could be good, except that the Cubs have occasionally played down to the level of their competition. In order to keep in good running for a playoff spot, I'd say the Cubs should go no worse than 10-6 over this span, which would make them 57-46 when they face the Pirates for a three-game series in Pittsburgh starting August 3.

And, of course, we are all curious/anxious/excited (pick one word, or all three) to see how the addition of Kyle Schwarber to the active roster as of tonight will affect the team's offense.

Here are today's particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Fowler CF, Schwarber C, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Soler RF, Coghlan LF, Castro SS, Hendricks P, Russell 2B

There it is: Schwarber starting at catcher, batting second. Seriously, I hope he does well both at the plate and behind it.

Braves lineup:

Peterson 2B, Maybin CF, Markakis RF, Johnson 1B, Uribe 3B, Pierzynski C, Simmons SS, Perez LF, Teheran P

Today's Starting Pitchers

Kyle Hendricks

Kyle Hendricks


Cubs

vs. Julio Teheran

Julio Teheran


Braves

vs. Atl

--

vs. Cubs

Kyle Hendricks is looking to build on the good finish he had to the first half. He's working on a 22⅓ inning scoreless streak. He has never faced the Braves and the only two Braves he has faced are Nick Markakis (0-for-2) and A.J. Pierzynski (1-for-2). Hopefully Hendricks will pitch in the second half the way he did in 2014.

Julio Teheran is having a rough year after two very good seasons to start his big-league career. He has been a bit better over his last four starts (3.00 ERA). He last faced the Cubs May 9, 2014 and held them to one hit in eight innings, but as you will note if you click on that link, that was a very different Cubs team. Current Cubs are 8-for-43 (.186) against Teheran, but with two home runs (Chris Coghlan, Anthony Rizzo).

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. If you do go there to interact with Braves fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

The 2015 Game Thread procedure has changed a bit. Here's how it will work going forward.

You'll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).

At the same time, a StoryStream™ containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.

You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap 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 the game's StoryStream™ as noted above.

The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.