When last we saw the Atlanta Braves, the Cubs were taking two of three from them in Atlanta in early June.
That series ended on June 12. Since that date the Braves are 10-13 and the Cubs are 9-14.
Surprised? I was when I looked it up. This means this game might not be the easy win some might think it is. The Braves have also been a better road team (15-23) than home team (13-34) all year.
Having said that, both teams are struggling. The Braves have lost 10 of their last 14. The Cubs have lost 12 of their last 17.
The Braves have not won more than two games against any team outside their division this year. In fact, they are 17-23 vs. the N.L. East and 11-34 against everyone else. It would be nice to keep it that way; a Cubs win tonight takes the season series.
It would also be nice to win this one ahead of what looks to be a big weekend in Pittsburgh before the All-Star break.
Once again, there's a chance of rain this evening, so here's the WGN weather radar for you to keep track of any potential storms.
Here are today's particulars.
La Stella 3B, Bryant LF, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist RF, Contreras C, Heyward CF, Russell SS, Hammel P, Baez 2B
Peterson 2B, Beckham SS, Freeman 1B, Markakis RF, Garcia 3B, Francoeur LF, Flowers C, Inciarte CF, Harrell P
Jason Hammel was really, really bad in his last start, and no, you do not want to look at the boxscore, so I'm not linking it here. (Don't say I didn't warn you.) It almost certainly can't be that bad tonight. (Right?) Hammel faced the Braves June 10 in Atlanta and allowed homers to Adonis Garcia and Tyler Flowers, something we definitely do not want to see repeated in this one. It would be nice if first-half Hammel would show up this evening.
Lucas Harrell, wow. Since 2014 he has been let go by the Astros, Diamondbacks and Tigers, and he spent 2015 pitching in Korea. The Braves signed him in May. He made 15 appearances (11 starts) in the Tigers and Braves minor leagues this season, had a pretty high walk ratio (5.1/9 innings), and then the Braves called him up to face the Marlins on July 2. Upon which he threw six solid innings, allowing five hits, one run and just one walk. Go figure, right?
Harrell last faced the Cubs October 1, 2012, and I do pass that boxscore along for amusement. Current Cubs are a small-sample-size 5-for-20 (.250) against him.
Today's game is on ABC7 Chicago. For affiliate information in the Illinois/Indiana/Iowa Cubs TV market click here.
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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.