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Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves preview, Saturday 8/5, 1:20 CT

The Cubs look to even up their series with the visitors from Atlanta.

There were no good Cubs highlights from Friday’s game, so have this good one from Thursday
Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Saturday notes...

  • STAYING IN PLACE: Despite the loss Friday, the Cubs lost no ground either in the N.L. Central race or the Wild Card race, because the teams they are chasing (Brewers, Reds, Phillies, Marlins) all also lost. The Cubs thus remain 2½ games out of first place in the Central and two games behind the third Wild Card spot.
  • CHECK YOUR CALENDARS: With their loss yesterday, the Cubs are 44-30 on weekdays and 12-24 on weekends. They are 8-10 on Saturday and 4-14 on Sunday. They are 13-4 on Friday. They dropped two of their three games on Saturday following previous losses on Friday, losing at Miami on April 29 and at home against the Reds on May 27, then winning at home against the Red Sox on July 15. (Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)
  • GETTING CLOSE TO QUALIFYING: Cody Bellinger is five plate appearances short of being a qualified hitter for 2023. If he qualified as of today, his BA (.319) would rank fifth in the NL, his SLG (.538) would be seventh and his OPS (.907) would rank sixth. At his current pace he should be qualified by the end of next week.
  • HE’S NOT REALLY A PITCHER, BUT... Tucker Barnhart has a 0.00 ERA in three pitching appearances this year. The only other Cubs position player to have a 0.00 ERA in at least that many pitching appearances in an entire career is Doug Dascenzo, who made four pitching appearances covering five innings from 1988-92.

Speaking of Barnhart...

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Braves lineup:

Javier Assad, RHP vs. Bryce Elder, RHP

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Javier Assad has started just one game this year, April 20 against the Dodgers, and it did not go well. Don’t look, seriously.

Much better have been his recent relief appearances. Over his last nine outings: 0.40 ERA, 0.851 WHIP, 22 strikeouts in 22⅓ innings. There are still a few too many walks over that span (10), but he’s generally keeping guys off base and just one run has scored off Assad in those nine games (a solo HR by Yu Chang of the Red Sox July 14).

Assad has never faced the Braves or anyone on their active roster. Perhaps this will be to his advantage.

Bryce Elder was the Braves’ fifth-round pick in 2020 out of the University of Texas. He made his MLB debut last year, but did not face the Cubs, and has made 21 starts this year. He’s had good MLB results, though since the beginning of June his ERA is 4.66 over a 10-start period.

He doesn’t strike out a lot of guys — just 6.6 per nine innings — and as you can see below, he throws a lot of offspeed stuff.

Just-arrived Jeimer Candelario is 1-for-2 against him — a home run. So there’s that.


Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. You can find out if Marquee is available via a provider in your area here.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Braves site Battery Power. 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 2023 Game Thread procedure will be like last year’s, similar to what we’ve used for Spring Training.

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, titled “Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of week/date) game threads.” It will contain every post related to that particular game, including the First Pitch Thread and the overflow thread, as well as the recap when it’s published. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post.

You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread and the overflow thread in the box marked “Chicago Cubs Game Threads” at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). The StoryStream for each game can also be found in that section.

The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at 90 minutes after the scheduled game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.