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Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves preview, Tuesday 7/18, 6:35 CT

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The Cubs look to match their season-high winning streak tonight.

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Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

A four-game winning streak out of the All-Star break is excellent.

If the Cubs can make it five straight, that will not only match their season-high streak from June 2-6, but it will be the first time since 1993 that any Cubs team has won their first five post-All-Star contests.

Just two teams in Cubs history have done better after the ASG: 1935 (six straight) and 1933 (seven). You surely know that the 1935 team won 100 games and the N.L. pennant. The 1933 Cubs’ streak was actually eight, one before and seven after the break. That was part of a 16-3 run that put them two games out of first place, but they faded and finished third at 86-68.

Here’s hoping this streak is part of a run like that one.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Zobrist LF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Contreras C, Russell SS, Almora CF, Heyward RF, Baez 2B, Lackey P

Braves lineup:

Inciarte CF, Phillips 2B, Freeman 3B, Kemp LF, Adams 1B, Markakis RF, Suzuki C, Camargo SS, Newcomb P

John Lackey vs. Sean Newcomb

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

John Lackey has just been bad most of this year, and I’m trying to be charitable. It got worse after he threw seven shutout innings vs. the Rockies on May 9. In 10 starts since then he has a 5.88 ERA and 1.341 WHIP, with 16 (!) home runs allowed in 56⅔ innings. Overall he still leads the N.L. in home runs allowed (24).

We learned after his last start, which was 13 days ago, that he was suffering from plantar fasciitis, a very painful condition of the bottom of the foot. The only hope the Cubs have is that he’s recovered from this, and I have no idea whether two weeks’ worth of rest is enough for that.

Hope so.

Sean Newcomb came to the Braves as part of the deal that sent Andrelton Simmons to the Angels a year and a half ago. He was the Angels’ first-round pick (15th overall, 11 picks after Kyle Schwarber) in 2014.

He will be making his seventh big-league start tonight. The first four were very good. The last two, not so much: 7⅓ total innings, 13.50 ERA, 2.727 (!) WHIP, 11 earned runs facing the Astros and Nationals.

Those two teams have good offenses. Theoretically, so do the Cubs. Obviously, Newcomb has never faced the Cubs or anyone on the current roster. Here’s hoping the Cubs have a detailed scouting report.

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

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The 2017 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2016. 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.

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