Series Preview: Cubs vs. Braves

For only the second time all season, the Cubs were on the winning end of a sweep, this time against the Houston Astros (not a bad way to end a 5-1 homestead). Paul Maholm and Travis Wood threw gems in their respective games and the bullpens kept those gems intact. On the offensive side, Anthony Rizzo picked a good time to hit his first Cubs home run as a two-run blast helped the Cubs secure game two. June has been a rough month for a lot of Cubs players and the team as a whole, but they ended the month on a high note. The Cubs will now head to the East for their final seven games before the All-Star break against the Atlanta Braves and the New York Mets. Can the Cubs take the momentum from this sweep to the road?

Probable Starters

Game 1 (6:10 p.m. CT)

Jeff Samardzija (5-7, 5.05 ERA) vs. Tommy Hanson (9-4, 3.59 ERA)

Game 2 (6:10 p.m. CT)

Chris Volstad (0-6, 7.46 ERA) vs. Jair Jurrjens (1-2, 6.07 ERA)

Game 3 (6:10 p.m. CT)

Paul Maholm (5-6, 4.84 ERA) vs. Randall Delgado (4-8, 4.52 ERA)

Game 4 (6:10 p.m. CT)

Matt Garza (4-6, 4.01 ERA) vs. Mike Minor (4-6, 6.20 ERA)

Series Studs

CHC: Travis Wood (7.2 IP, 3 H, 4 SO, 0 ER)

  • The Cubs finished out the sweep of the Astros mostly on the arm of Travis Wood. He pitched 7.2 innings of shutout baseball, and miraculously, the bullpen managed to keep that shutout alive. Wood also made things happen from the other side of the plate. With a double and some smart base running, Wood got the offense started in the sixth inning.

ATL: Andrelton Simmons (5-12, 1 HR, 3 RBI)

Series Duds

CHC: Starlin Castro (1-9, 2 SO)

  • Starlin Castro is an All-Star, but he hasn’t been playing like it as of late. In his last 10 games, Castro has only batted .243, which drops his season average below .300 (.296) and his on-base percentage to .318. While Rizzo is providing Cubs fans with something to hope for, Castro is beginning to raise concerns. Maybe an All-Star break is long overdue for Castro.

ATL: Brian McCann (0-8, 2 SO)

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