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Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves Preview, Friday 4/29, 1:20 CT

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The team with the best record in baseball begins a weekend series against the team with the worst record.

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

In 2013, the Cubs were near the beginning of a rebuild phase and the Braves were starting a season in which they would cruise to a division title, winning the N.L. East by 10 games.

The Cubs played a series in Atlanta in April 2013. They got swept and it was ugly; they lost 4-1 and 5-1 and the third game of that series this one if you care to look (awful, don't say I didn't warn you), they blew a 5-0 lead and lost on home runs by the Upton brothers in the ninth inning off Carlos Marmol.

These two teams have reversed their respective positions in just three years. The Cubs are now dominant. The Braves are rebuilding, and at the moment it's not pretty at the big-league level.

Here's hoping the Cubs do to the Braves, what the Braves did to the Cubs in Atlanta in 2013.

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Here are today's particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Fowler CF, Heyward RF, Zobrist 2B, Rizzo 1B, Soler LF, Baez 3B, Russell SS, Ross C, Lester P

Braves lineup:

Markakis RF, Castro SS, Freeman 1B, Garcia 3B, Francoeur LF, Flowers C, Aybar 2B, Stubbs CF, Blair P

Jon Lester

vs

Aaron Blair

Unlike last year, Jon Lester is having an excellent April. Four straight quality starts, and he's allowed more than one run in a game just once. Last year, he had one of his better starts of the season against the Braves, July 18 in Atlanta, where he allowed just two hits in 7⅓ innings, and that was the game where a first-inning hit was changed to an error, briefly giving him a no-hit bid. Jon is also hitting .250/.400/.500 (1-for-4 with a double and a walk).

Aaron Blair was the Diamondbacks' No. 1 pick (supplemental) in 2013 and came to the Braves in the Shelby Miller deal. He's making his second major-league start today. The first one, five days ago against the Mets, was not real successful. However, he was a top-100 prospect last year. Obviously, he has never faced the Cubs nor anyone on the current Cubs roster.

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 2016 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used at the end of 2015. Here's how it works.

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.