Series preview: Braves vs. Cubs
When (TV): 2:20 p.m. Friday (FSSO), 4:05 p.m. Saturday (SPSO), 2:20 p.m. Sunday (FSSO)
Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5
Probable starting pitchers:
Friday: Braves LH Paul Maholm (10-10, 4.35 ERA) vs. RH Scott Baker (0-0, 0.82)
Saturday: Braves RH Kris Medlen (14-12, 3.32) vs. LH Travis Wood (9-11, 3.05)
Sunday: Braves RH Julio Teheran (12-8, 3.14) vs. RH Edwin Jackson (8-16, 4.75)
About the Braves:
Batting: Justin Upton is 9-for-25 (.360) with two homers during a six-game hitting streak, after going 8-for-56 (.143) with no homers and 20 strikeouts in his previous 18 games. Evan Gattis is 13-for-58 (.224) with five homers, 12 RBIs and a .552 slugging percentage in 15 games since returning from Triple-A. He has one walk and 16 strikeouts in that span. B.J. Upton is 13-for-86 (.151) with one homer and 38 strikeouts in his past 30 games, including 1-for-29 in his past 10.
Pitching: Maholm is 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in his past three starts after going 0-4 with a 9.16 ERA in his previous four. He’s 4-8 with a 5.86 ERA in 15 road starts and allowed seven hits and two runs in 6 2/3 innings for no decision in a Sept. 8 loss at Philadelphia. Maholm, traded by the Cubs to Atlanta in July 2012, is 12-4 with a 3.99 ERA in 22 starts at Wrigley Field. He’s 9-3 with a 5.04 ERA in 17 starts vs. the Cubs, but hasn’t faced them since 2011 with the Pirates. Against the Cubs, Medlen has allowed three hits, no runs and no walks with five strikeouts in 7-2/3 innings over five career relief appearances (no starts). Teheran allowed five runs and eight hits in five innings (no decision) in his only start against them, in Atlanta.
Miscellaneous: Chris Johnson has a .338 average with three homers and 10 RBIs in 65 at-bats (18 games) at Wrigley Field. Reed Johnson, a former Cub, has a .303 career average with 11 homers and a .355 OBP in 468 at-bats at Wrigley. Against the Cubs, he’s 11-for-30 (.367) with four homers and eight RBIs in 11 games. The Braves swept the Cubs on April 5-7 in Atlanta. They haven’t faced them in Chicago since May 7-9, 2012, when the Braves lost two of three.
About the Cubs:
Batting: Wellington Castillo was 17-for-49 (.347) with five doubles, four homers and 10 RBIs in his past 14 games before Thursday’s series finale at Milwaukee. Junior Lake was 15-for-42 (.357) with four doubles and two homers in his past 15 games. Darwin Barney was 10-for-74 (.135) with two doubles, no homers and three RBIs in his past 22 games.
Pitching: This will be the third start for Baker, who missed most of the season recovering from Tommy John surgery. He hasn’t faced Atlanta in 165 career games (161 starts), and the only Braves with more than three at-bats against him are B.J. Upton (2-for-14, five strikeouts), Gerald Laird (2-for-10) and Justin Upton (0-for-5). Baker has a 63-48 career record and 4.11 ERA. Jackson is 0-1 with a 3.62 ERA in six games (four starts) vs. the Braves. Wood hasn’t faced them.
Miscellaneous: It’s been another long season for the Cubs, who before Thursday were 14-31 since the beginning of August, and 3-9 with a .189 average in their past 12 games. They scored one or no runs in six of those 12.