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turner fieldThe Braves are really scuffling, and so are the Cubs. So maybe this will be a good series. That will require, of course, the Braves forgetting that, at their core, they are the better team right now.

Jason Hammel looks to continue his hot start to the 2014 season, and he gets a Braves lineup that has really struggled lately. On the other bump, there’s Julio Teheran, who has emerged as the dominant righty we’ve been hearing about as a prospect for so many years. He’s a stud, and you’ll have to excuse the Cubs’ bats if they don’t quite repeat last night’s explosion.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (12-21) at Atlanta Braves (18-15), 6:35 CT on CSN.

Game Thread and Series Preview

The Game Thread lives here. And, of course, for those who aren’t into message board-style game threads, please feel free to use the comments on this post for your in-game commentary/outbursts.

The Series Preview lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Jason Hammel (2.43 ERA, 3.77 FIP, 3.53 xFIP; 3.56 K/BB)

versus

Julio Teheran (1.80 ERA, 3.93 FIP, 3.88 xFIP; 3.67 K/BB)

Atlanta Braves Lineup

(I had to write this up and schedule it long before the lineups were actually released. Taking a guess here, and if someone could be helpful and drop the actual lineup in the comments when it’s released (by the time you’re seeing this, the lineups are actually probably already out), I’d appreciate it.)

1. Jason Heyward, RF

2. Justin Upton, LF

3. Freddie Freeman, 1B

4. Evan Gattis, C

5. Chris Johnson, 3B

6. B.J. Upton, CF

7. Andrelton Simmons, SS

8. Dan Uggla

9. Julio Teheran, C

Chicago Cubs Lineup

(I had to write this up and schedule it long before the lineups were actually released. Taking a guess here, and if someone could be helpful and drop the actual lineup in the comments when it’s released (by the time you’re seeing this, the lineups are actually probably already out), I’d appreciate it.)

1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF

2. Luis Valbuena, 2B

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Starlin Castro, SS

5. Nate Schierholtz, RF

6. Mike Olt, 3B

7. Ryan Kalish, LF

8. John Baker, C

9. Jason Hammel, P

  • cubmig

    shit…..WTF Hammel?!……that’s NO way to return the favor from your teammates!….shit.

  • Head and Heart

    So the awful John Baker is Hammel’s personal catcher? Luckily the won’t factor that into Hammel’s WAR.

  • notcubbiewubbie

    kyle’s favorite player goes yard again!!

  • CubsFaninMS

    LIKE A THUNDERB-OLT! HE STRIKES AGAIN!

  • waittilthisyear

    i think i just had a realization about fans who just rag mercilessly on every player on the team they cheer for: if that player fails, they get to gloat and say “told you he sucks,” but if that player succeeds, it is good for the cubs and thus good for the fan. a true win/win. diabolical, brilliant, and annoying

    • CubChymyst

      So true.

    • https://twitter.com/dwoytek dw8

      This comment sucks.

    • cubmig

      wiattillthisyear:
      I think you just put your finger on what the inconsistency of play by this team has produced among fans, ….and…..given you moniker, I’m left to wonder why you ……well, you know what I mean.

  • cubmig

    One other thing re: Hammel. Hammel threw Gattis a high pitch the first time up which he hit for a single. Gattis comes up the second time and lo-n-behold Hammel hands him another high pitch for a Gattis rbi. I realize it may have been something Baker may have called for…but shit, Hammel should have shook that one off. I’m just sayin’

    • https://twitter.com/dwoytek dw8

      missed the spot.

  • Seabee

    Tribune reporting Cubs draft possibilities include prep arm Kyle Freeland, TCU lefty Brandon Finnegan, or high school catcher/outfielder Alex Jackson.

  • SenorGato

    So Chris Crawford thinks Gordon > Lindor in their respective draft years:

    @CrawfordChrisV: Oh that’s a great question Probably Gordon. “@AndrewPrichard @crawfordchrisv who did you like more, Lindor in ’11, or Gordon this year?

    Also Rodon might have been sent out after a 75 minute rain delay, which no one is a fan of.

    • Head and Heart

      Whoever drafts Rodon ought to just shut him down at that point.

      • SenorGato

        I think they should consider letting guys leave for the draft earlier. Maybe 2 years in college instead of 3.

        • Head and Heart

          If I am a parent I am strongly urging my kid to go to a school that doesn’t have a track record for letting guys throw a million pitches.

          • SenorGato

            I would look for the schools that have a full program for pitchers with high quality S&C, coaches, and athletic programs.

  • cubmig

    Gattis pops up produced by a swing at a low pitch……

  • cubmig

    Will this “movie” end as the so many we’ve seen before?

  • SenorGato

    Jen-Ho Tseng 5.2 7 2 2 0 5 1 2.81
    Gerardo Concepcion 2.1 1 0 0 0 5 0 3.20

    Concepcion with another interesting outing. Might get another inning.

  • Seabee

    imagine that, Soler hits another double tonite.

  • cubmig

    WOOOOOOOOoooooHOOOOOoooooooo!!!!!!

  • Seabee

    Tied at 2

  • mjhurdle

    need one big hit…

  • BlameHendry

    Wish Castro would have swung at that ball 4… was barely outside, definitely hittable. Now it’s up to Schierholtz… yuck…

  • https://twitter.com/dwoytek dw8

    “Wish Castro would have swung at that ball 4″
    words never typed before.

    • BlameHendry

      haha that’s a good point. If the count was anything other than 3-0, then I wouldn’t say that. But it was 3-0, and I have a lot more faith in Castro to get a solid hit (as opposed to a groundout) than Schierholtz, at least so far this year.

  • mjhurdle

    Rondon > Braves

  • cubmig

    A beautifully pitched 9th by Rondon.

    • BlameHendry

      good bounce-back for him

  • cubmig

    Off topic:
    1-1 Blackhawks vs Wild 2nd period

  • Svengoolie

    Has anyone noticied a dark spot on the bill of Kimbril’s cap?
    He touches it once in a while, and never wipes off his hand !
    Could it be a foreign substance?

    • BlameHendry

      is it there every game?

    • spearman

      yeah, I noticed it. And I think it’s dirt. He rubs the same spot on his hat before every pitch.

  • BlameHendry

    Baker and his .069 average… why did he make the team over Kottaras… why…

    • itzscott

      Because he knows how to frame a pitch, meaning that over the course of a season Cub pitchers will get 5 strikes that would otherwise be called balls.

      Isn’t that worth a .069 average?

    • mjhurdle

      Well, Kotteras is REALLY tearing the cover off the ball in all 3 of his ABs this season.
      I guess the Indians are just stupid too to not start such a stud more often. So stupid in fact they designated him for assignment.

      Strange that all these MLB teams can’t see what is so obvious to random internet posters.

      • Karl Groucho

        With his otherworldly BB/K rate, you’re really stacking the deck by picking AB over PA.

      • BlameHendry

        Frankly it’s a miracle Baker hasn’t been DFA’d yet. Kotteras is no stud, and I’m not claiming he is. But you really mean to tell me you’d rather have Baker over him? At least Kotteras homered in 2 of his 4 plate appearances… more than Baker has contributed all season.

      • Jason P

        Regardless of if the Cubs should’ve cut Kotterras, I’m pretty sure they didn’t have John Baker in mind when they were backup catcher shopping last fall.

        • mjhurdle

          i disagree with that. Baker is a stereotypical backup catcher. Him and Kottaras are basically indistinguishable in WAR in their 7 years of service.

          If they were looking at Kottaras, they were looking at Baker at the same time.

      • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

        But its not about Baker or Kottaras (after I made it about both of them) it’s about the 7 WAR backup the Cubs didn’t sign!

        NAVARRRRRROOOOOOOOOOO

  • cubmig

    ……….tough game to lose

    • itzscott

      Which ones so far haven’t been tough?

  • http://BN Sacko

    WALKS! impossible unbelievable it does’t matter who, WALKS!

  • mudge

    Renteria managed a nice game tonight. Not much margin for error.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Wesley Wright sucks!

    • Drew7

      The guy had 11 straight scoreless appearances coming into tonight.

      • DarthHater

        Drew7 sucks! :-P

  • BlameHendry

    I just wanna say something about Lake. I really don’t mind if he swings for the fences early in the count. But continuing to swing out of his shoes in 2-strike counts is just unacceptable. You dont see any MLB-quality hard-swinger not shortening up with 2 strikes. With 0 strikes or 1 strike, let him loose. He’s got power and a beautiful swing. But they really need to get on him for swinging like that with 2 strikes, it needs to be corrected quickly if he’s ever gonna get that K rate and OBP to an acceptable level. It literally made me angry watching his pinch-hit appearance tonight, swinging so hard that he almost fell over in a key spot with 2 strikes.

  • willis

    That Olt blast was a…blast. I was sitting close to home and the contact he made was just awesome. Not to mention the noise that came from it. Just wow.

    Hammel was pretty good all night. Had one bad inning, but he’s very solid and was changing speeds well, keeping the cubs in the game.

    Rondon has electric stuff up close. Same with Rosscup. Just nasty.

  • SenorGato

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrSCo-c44ik

    That thing feels like I feel.

    • spearman

      Was that the old Memorex commercial?

  • arta

    when will the FO tell Ricky to play Olt every day! D, power and in time his avg will pick up. 240/250. JMO

    • mudge

      He is playing every day.

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