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Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves Preview, Sunday 5/1, 1:20 CT

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The Cubs go for their fifth straight win.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

If it seems to you as if the Cubs haven't played much baseball lately, your feeling is correct.

With an off day and two rainouts this past week, the Cubs have played just three games since last Sunday. With wins in all of those plus last Sunday in Cincinnati, they're riding a four-game winning streak coming into the final game of this abbreviated two-game series against the Braves, who they'll see again in Atlanta in June, and then most likely for a makeup of Saturday's rainout in July (though no official makeup date has been set).

The rainout means that the Cubs, along with the Mets, have played the fewest games in the major leagues at this date -- 22. Most teams are at 23 or 24 games, the Diamondbacks have played the most with 26. This doesn't mean much except for having to catch up over the next few months.

It's not going to be real nice weatherwise today -- cloudy, high in the mid 40s -- but at least the rain has exited the Chicago area (until late in the day, according to that forecast), so they'll get this one in.

Here are today's particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Fowler CF, Heyward RF, Bryant LF, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist 2B, La Stella 3B, Russell SS, Federowicz C, Lackey P 

Braves lineup:

Markakis RF, Aybar SS, Freeman 1B, Garcia LF, Johnson 2B, Flowers C, Peterson 3B, Teheran P, Smith CF

John Lackey

vs

Julio Teheran

John Lackey has made two good starts and two not-so-good ones this year, so his results so far as a Cub are mediocre (4.97 ERA, although with a 3.20 FIP). He faced the Braves just once last year, and it was kind of a throwaway appearance, four innings as a playoff tuneup on the last day of the regular season. It's interesting to note that Lackey had a similar April for the Cardinals last year (4.21 ERA, two decent starts, two mediocre ones) before having a much better May (1.89 ERA). That, perhaps, is a good sign.

Julio Teheran, once one of baseball's top pitching prospects, has really not pitched well since the beginning of 2015. This year: two decent starts, one mediocre, two pretty bad outings, and 11 walks and five home runs allowed in 29⅓ innings. The Cubs got to him pretty well July 17, 2015 in Atlanta, knocking him out in the fifth inning after 90 pitches. This year's patient Cubs should be able to do the same.

Today's game is on WGN.

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.