Series Preview: Cubs head south looking to keep steady against the Braves; TV Times, Pitching Matchups

Don’t let up now, boys.

The Cubs (41-17) venture to Atlanta today for a three game set against the Braves (17-42).

The Braves return home after snapping a six-game losing streak, and with the league’s most effective starting pitching staff waiting at their doorstep, things won’t get easier for the bottom feeders of the National League.

Jason Hammel (7-1, 2.14 ERA) will toe the rubber, opposite of Bud Norris (1-7, 5.28 ERA) in Friday’s opener. Jason hasn’t exactly looked good against the Braves in his career. He 2-4 in his career against Atlanta, with an ERA floating near 6. Four of those starts came at Turner field, where he’s won just once.

Friday would be a great time for Jason to exercise a few of those demons, considering the amount of confidence he’s pitching with right now.

Game times and broadcast info

  • Friday, June 10 at 6:35 PM CDT on CSN
  • Saturday, June 11 at 3:10 PM CDT on CSN, MLB Network (out of market only)
  • Sunday, June 12 at 12:35 PM CDT on WGN

Starting pitchers

Date Pitcher Age T ERA W/L WHIP
6/10 Jason Hammel 33 R 2.14 7-1 1.08
Bud Norris 31 R 5.28 1-7 1.61
6/11 Jake Arrieta 30 R 1.80 9-1 0.96
Matt Wisler 23 R 3.98 2-6 1.12
6/12 Jon Lester 32 L 2.06 7-3 0.97

What to watch for

  • Welcome back, Cogs. As I’m sure most of you know, the Cubs have re-acquired OF Chris Coghlan from the Oakland A’s in exchange for INF Arismedy Alacantara. This made me happy when I heard the news early yesterday evening. The kid had some big at-bats for us last year. Chris had been struggled with the A’s, hitting just .146 in 51 games, but there’s no reason to believe a change in scenery, and a place where he’s comfortable hitting, won’t throw some juice in that bat. The 2007 NL Rookie of The Year is too talented to slump that hard for 51 games, and with Tommy LaStella looking at some extended time off with a bad hamstring, the left handed bat is necessary.
  • It’s going to be hot in Atlanta – 93, 93, 97 are all the game time highs. This is worth mentioning because conditioning will be tested and it’s good to see these guys ease into the dog days of summer. I’m not worried about that, honestly. The hot temps equal hot bats. The Cubs outscored the Braves 40-19 in six contest last year. That domination should stay true to form.
  • Just keeping watching Javy Baez go about his business at the dish. It’s incredible to watch. Those outrageous swings are still there, but they’re limited to only 2-3 per game. He’s cutting down on his stroke, showing a Garry Sheffield-like level of plate coverage, and is really attacking pitches he can handle. The kid oozes talent.
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