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Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves preview, Saturday 4/14, 1:20 CT

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The Cubs look to even up their series against the Braves.

Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps you are concerned about the Cubs’ 6-7 start.

Consider the plights of these other teams that were predicted as division winners by many before the season.

Dodgers: They’re 4-8. They’ve been shut out three times, have lost all four games they have played against their division rivals, the Diamondbacks, and are four games under .500 for the first time since 2013.

Nationals: They’re 6-8 — after a 4-0 start, which means they have lost eight of their last 10. Under .500 for the first time since 2015.

Yankees: At 7-7, the Yankees have lost five of their last eight. They currently trail the division-leading Red Sox by 4½ games.

Indians: They’re 8-6, the only one of this group over .500. They were off to a 3-5 start before a five-game winning streak, which included a four-game sweep of the woeful Tigers.

The only preseason projected division winner doing well right now is the Astros, at 10-4 — but even they’re not in first place. They trail the Angels by 1½ games.

It’s April 14. These good teams will play up to their talent levels. Most or all of them will make the postseason.

It’s way too early to be concerned.

One more note for today: Weather permitting, this will be Joe Maddon’s 500th game as Cubs manager. He’ll be the 13th man to manage the Cubs in that many games.

One more win gives Joe 300 wins as a Cubs manager. That would rank tied for 11th in team history. If the Cubs win 90+ games again this year, Joe would rank sixth on the Cubs’ all-time managerial list in wins. Cap Anson, Charlie Grimm, Frank Chance, Leo Durocher and Joe McCarthy are the top five.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Braves lineup:

Jose Quintana, LHP vs Sean Newcomb, LHP

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Jose Quintana had an excellent outing in his last start, against the Brewers in Milwaukee.

He last faced the Braves in 2016, and most of those guys aren’t on the team anymore. Thus most of the Braves have faced him very little, except for Nick Markakis (3-for-15) and Kurt Suzuki (5-for-21). Quintana, at least, has to be somewhat used to pitching in lousy weather conditions early in the season from his time with the White Sox. On the other hand, April has not been a great month for him in his career (4.05 ERA, 1.313 WHIP in 27 starts), his second-worst monthly numbers.

In short, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

The Cubs hit Sean Newcomb pretty hard in two starts last year — 6.10 ERA, 2.129 WHIP, two home runs (Javier Baez, Willson Contreras).

Newcomb got hit pretty hard by the Nationals in his first start this year, but then threw six shutout innings with nine strikeouts against a pretty good hitting Rockies team — in Coors Field. That’s pretty impressive.

So... in short, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Today’s game is on NBC Sports 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 2018 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2017. 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.