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Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves preview, Sunday 9/3, 1:20 CT

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The Cubs are looking to sweep this series, this homestand, and the entire season series over the Braves.

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Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Catching up on Saturday’s action:

  • The Nationals came from behind with a two-run rally in the eighth inning and defeated the Brewers 3-2. That put the Brewers 4½ games behind the Cubs, which is the Cubs’ biggest division lead of the season.
  • The Cardinals also blew a late lead against the Giants. San Francisco tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the ninth and won 2-1 in the 10th on a walkoff homer by Nick Hundley. They now trail the Cubs by seven games.

And a couple of notes about this afternoon at Wrigley:

  • The last time the Cubs swept a four-game series was August 16-18, 2016 over the Brewers (including a doubleheader sweep on 8/16).
  • The last time the Cubs swept an entire homestand of seven or more games was August 6-13, 2015, a four-game sweep of the Giants and three-game sweep of the Brewers.
  • The last time the Cubs swept an entire season series of seven or more games was also in 2015, 7-0 over the Mets. If the Cubs do win today and go 7-0 over the Braves this year, at least they know they won’t have to face them again in October.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Zobrist 2B, Almora CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Baez SS, Happ LF, Heyward RF, Rivera C, Montgomery P

Braves lineup:

Inciarte CF, Albies 2B, Freeman 1B, Kemp LF, Markakis RF, Swanson SS, Ruiz 3B, Freitas C, Fried P

Mike Montgomery vs. Max Fried

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

This game was originally supposed to be a rematch of the game in Atlanta on July 19, where Mike Montgomery threw six innings and allowed just two hits (one of those was a solo homer by Ender Inciarte), and he hit a home run himself off R.A. Dickey.

Dickey, though, had to throw in a doubleheader Wednesday after his scheduled start Tuesday was rained out. Thus the Braves are not going to have him go on three days’ rest and instead will send rookie lefthander Max Fried out to make his first big-league start.

Fried was the Padres’ first-round pick in 2012, seventh overall — chosen right after the Cubs picked Albert Almora Jr. He was traded to the Braves in 2014 as part of the deal that sent Justin Upton to San Diego.

Fried made 19 starts in Double-A this year and was pretty bad: 5.92 ERA, 1.512 WHIP. He threw six innings in Triple-A and has made four relief appearances with the big-league Braves, a couple of which were good and the others, not.

He has obviously never faced the Cubs or anyone on the current roster. And that’s all I know about him.

As for Montgomery, he appears to have figured things out, for now at least. In his most recent three starts (the one in Atlanta, and August 23 and 28) he has issued just two walks in 19 innings. That’s excellent control and command; if he can keep this up he’ll be an outstanding starting pitcher.

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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