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turner fieldFor the fifth series in a row – seriously, check for yourself – the Cubs enter the series finale with a sweep on the line. In four of those series, including today’s, it’s the Cubs trying to ward off the sweep. They’ve succeeded each time (and managed to lose the finale in that Cardinals series), so it’s pretty much a lock that the Cubs are going to win today.

If it’s to be, Edwin Jackson may have to repeat his fantastic last start, and the Cubs’ bats will have to get to Aaron Harang, who has started the year with a sub-3 ERA over his first 7 starts. It’s actually a little more interesting than that for Harang: outside of his 9 ER, 4.2-inning April 30 start, he’s had a quality start each time out. Most of them quite dominating. Still … kinda feels like pumpkin status is approaching at any minute.

Jackson gets a Justin-Upton-less Braves lineup, as the outfielder hurt himself (maybe twice) in last night’s game.

Slumping Emilio Bonifacio gets another day off, and Ryan Kalish once again leads off. Mike Olt starts again, and Chris Coghlan makes a start in left, batting second.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (12-23) at Atlanta Braves (20-15), 12:35 CT on WGN, MLBN.

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

Edwin Jackson (4.57 ERA, 3.15 FIP, 3.96 xFIP; 2.06 K/BB)

versus

Aaron Harang (2.98 ERA, 2.73 FIP, 3.54 xFIP; 2.87 K/BB)

Atlanta Braves Lineup

1. Jason Heyward, RF

2. Tyler Pastornicky, 2B

3. Freddie Freeman, 1B

4. Evan Gattis, C

5. Chris Johnson, 3B

6. Ryan Doumit, LF

7. Andrelton Simmons, SS

8. Aaron Harang, P

9. Jordan Schafer, CF

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. Ryan Kalish, CF

2. Chris Coghlan, LF

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Starlin Castro, SS

5. Nate Schierholtz, RF

6. Welington Castillo, C

7. Mike Olt, 3B

8. Darwin Barney, 2B

9. Edwin Jackson, P

  • renegade4196

    The fact that Schierholtz is still in the majors is quite troubling.

    • YourResidentJag

      No, the fact that he was kept on this team this yr is.

  • Dustin S

    Stumbled on a Braves forum yesterday that was griping about how bad their own lineup is. Perspective I guess…

    At least we Baker isn’t starting the same day as Barney. Coghlan and Kalish getting something started at the top would be a nice step.

  • willis

    Sweet outfield today.

  • Stogie

    Darwin Barney shouldn’t start…ever.

    • OCCubFan

      If Barney had started yesterday, the Cubs would have scored just as many runs, and he would certainly have caught that pop-up single that initiated the Braves’ rally.

  • RWakild

    Schierholtz hasn’t been good for almost a year now. Call up Bryant soon as he gets by the super2 date

  • BlameHendry

    You know, Kalish has been doing pretty well lately, AVG up to .278 after a miserable start. Hopefully he replaces Boner at the top of the order.

  • willis

    Looks like we are getting the bad Jackson today. And that is with an Upton-less lineup. 1-0 was a lot to overcome, 2-0…uh oh.

    • BlameHendry

      yeah once it gets to 2-0, the Cubs might as well just forfeit. In fact I’m starting to think that if the Cubs ever want to win again, their pitchers will have to figure out how to get the opposing team down to -1 runs.

      • mjhurdle

        “yeah once it gets to 2-0, the Cubs might as well just forfeit.”

        That would be silly seeing as how 27 out of the 35 games they have scored 2 or more runs.

        • DarthHater

          [img]https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8551/8705395082_71435b7e84_o.jpg[/img]

  • mjhurdle

    Really nice play by Rizzo there.

  • cubmig

    Man………what a pick by Barney!!!!!! Damn. Imagine if he hit as well as he fields!!!! His value would go through the roof!`

    • cubmig

      …..come to think of it —imagine what this team would be like if EVERYONE could hit……

  • nakedman1664

    Fantastic.

  • KHRSS

    Cubs tie the game and Jackson gives it up the very next inning. He has done that quite a bit this year.

  • cubmig

    Once again Gattis is fed the high strike he likes……WTF EJ!…..haven’t you been watching this guy’s penchant for those kinds of pitches? ratbastardo.

  • cubmig

    Even though Schierholtz ended up popping up, he showed a good eye fouling off a number of pitches. That is so much better than the K’ing he’s been doing for a “good morning–goodnite and goodbye” at bat.

  • Diehardthefirst

    So many empty seats!! Baseball losing fans by the thousands– need to tweak game

    • DarthHater

      MLB attendance to date in 2014 is up over same time period last year. Not surprising, when one considers that you spout the same totally made-up horseshit about attendance every f-ing season.

      • Diehardthefirst

        Doesn’t change fact so many empty seats!!!

        • Cyranojoe

          So true. Facts don’t change opinions at all.

  • willis

    I don’t know how Rizzo hit that ball, but he did. Just shows how good he is.

    On the other side, Castillo is looking terrible of late at the plate. Amazing how quickly that can happen because he was on fire not that long ago.

    • Diehardthefirst

      Shark for Sanchez et al?

  • Diehardthefirst

    Pretty bad when hoping for a replay to add drama and interest—

  • cubmig

    Braves’ Johnson sure loves Cubs’ pitching……..

  • Diehardthefirst

    Castro changed stance– closer and squatter
    to see ball better?

  • Diehardthefirst

    Cubs bottom 4 in any lineup configuration worse in league?

  • KHRSS

    Russell strikes again.

  • cubmig

    Haven’t we seen this movie before and before and………..ah shit. How ’bout a different ending—like a comeback turn around…..The “agony-of-de-feet” is hurting too much!

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    When are they going to wake up and admitt that Russell just plain sucks? Rosscup is far better and deserves the spot. The Cubs need to release some of these marginal guys and bring in some fresh arms. Here we are at this point and still don’t have a closer. Let’s give Viscaino a shot and give Veres and Russell their walking papers.

  • Dustin S

    He hasn’t had a great start to 2014 I know, but Jason Heyward (and the good Upton ftm) is a free agent in 2016 and he’ll only be 26, just throwing that out there. Even though that’s a ways off and fairly unlikely, the thoughts of Rizzo/Castro plus maybe Baez/Bryant/Alcantara and a Heyward or 2 in 2016 are fun to dream about. That would be a true competitive major league lineup.

  • http://BN Sacko

    Theo, you fired Dale for regression. What’s this shit? Your fired!

  • https://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

    Well…there’s the sweep. This series made me look back to when we were facing the Braves in the playoffs in 2003 and make comparisons. Sad to see where things are now, but at least the future looks bright.

  • The Real Wrigley

    Cubs: 4 runs…FOR THE SERIES.
    Yeah, that’s about right .

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