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Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves Preview, Sunday 8/23, 1:20 CT

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Another four-game sweep is possible. If the Cubs do it, it will be their fourth such sweep of the season.

David Banks/Getty Images

Some excellent Cubs numbers:

  • The Cubs are 15-4 in August. Saturday's win clinched a winning month for the Cubs, as they have nine games remaining in August. They have not had a losing month this year. The 15-4 mark is tied with the Blue Jays for the best August record in baseball.
  • Five more wins in August would give the Cubs a 20-win calendar month for the first time since exactly seven years ago, August 2008, when they went 20-8.
  • The Cubs have outscored their opponents 108-79 this month, the best such showing in any calendar month so far this year.
  • Saturday, the Cubs became the fourth MLB team to win 70 games this year (Cardinals, Pirates and Royals are the others). Three more wins and they match last year's total.

Regarding the four-game sweep, which can happen with a win today: The last time any Cubs team had four four-game sweeps in a single season was 1945.

Here are today's particulars.

Cubs lineup:

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

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

Today's Starting Pitchers

Jason Hammel

Jason Hammel


Cubs

vs. Matt Wisler

Matt Wisler


Braves

vs. Atl

--

vs. Cubs

I think we all agree that Jason Hammel has got to get better. His last six starts have produced a 5.33 ERA and 1.667 WHIP and he's allowed seven home runs in 27 innings, while not pitching more than six innings in any of those starts. The last time he faced the Braves was August 15, 2014 while with the A's, and you probably don't want to look at that boxscore, although most of the Braves on the team that day aren't with them now. This is a key start for Hammel.

Matt Wisler was acquired by the Braves from the Padres in the Craig Kimbrel trade. He's made 11 starts for Atlanta and they range in quality from pretty good to awful. In August he has a 7.20 ERA in four starts (20 innings) and has a 1.900 WHIP and four home runs allowed in that time. He has never faced the Cubs or anyone on the current Cubs roster. Last time the Cubs faced a guy like that was... yesterday. That worked out all right.

Besides, he's kind of got that deer-caught-in-the-headlights look in his photo.

Today's game is on WGN. For coverage info in other Midwest markets click here (link opens .pdf).

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.