Braves’ opponent: Chicago Cubs
Keep an eye on: The Cubs’ youth movement, which has featured the major league debuts of three highly-touted prospects this season in third baseman Kris Bryant, second baseman Addison Russell and catcher Kyle Schwarber. Bryant is third among qualified rookies in the major leagues with a .269 batting average, third in home runs (12) and first in RBIs with 51. Russell is batting just .226 in 71 games played but he’s already showing his value with his fluidity on defense.
Who’s hot: Anthony Rizzo went 8-for-21 (.381) with a home run and three RBIs the last seven games before the All-Star break, after going 3-for-28 in his previous eight games.
Who’s not: Atlanta native Dexter Fowler was just 5-for-37 in the month of July before going 3-for-4 against the White Sox in the last game before the break.
Braves connection: Tommy La Stella, whom the Braves traded to the Cubs for Arodys Vizcaino in November, played all of two games for the Cubs in April before getting injured and has been out of action ever since. La Stella originally suffered a ribcage injury and injured an oblique during a minor league rehabilitation stint in May. Former Brave David Ross, who signed a two-year $5 million deal with the Cubs in December, is sharing time at catcher Taylor Teagarden and is soon to be with Schwarber as well.
In the news: Schwarber, who was just named MVP of the Futures Game on Sunday, is reportedly set to rejoin the Cubs’ roster when they open the second half Friday in Atlanta. Schwarber is expected to replace Miguel Montero, who is headed to the disabled list with a thumb injury. Schwarber went 8-for-22 in his first stint in the majors in June when called up to DH in interleague games. Schwarber went 1-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs in the Futures Game.
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