Matt Garza really can’t figure out this pitching on the road thing. Garza fell to 2-6 on the road as the Braves knocked around the Cubs starter en route to a 7-3 victory to finish the four game series with a split. Things were really over before they started tonight as the Braves made Garza throw 44 pitches in an exhausting first inning. A pair of two-run homers did the trick for Atlanta, one by Jason Heyward, and one by Brian McCann to put the Braves up 4-0 at the end of one. The Cubs got their first hit and their first run of the game in the fifth when Geovany Soto hit his 6th home run of the season to make it 5-1 Atlanta. The Braves got that run right back in the bottom half of the fifth to make it 6-1, but the Cubs weren’t dead yet. A Reed Johnson pinch hit RBI single, and a throwing error by Heyward in the 6th brought the Cubs back within three but that’s as close as they would get. Garza finished the night only making it through four innings, giving up five runs on five hits, three of which were home runs while walking three and striking out six. Mike Minor had his way with the Cubs lineup, as most lefties do, as the Cubs only managed five hits on the night. Anthony Rizzo extended his hitting streak to six games by going 1-for-4 with a single. The Cubs will finish off the first half in New York against the Mets this weekend, full box score and highlights after the jump.
The Cubs look to keep things rolling as they welcome the Atlanta Braves to Wrigley Field for a three game set. This will be the second series in a row where the Cubs will be facing one of the best teams in baseball. The Cubs first test was over the weekend against the Dodgers, and they passed with flying colors taking 2 out of 3. If the Cubs are going to do the same thing in this series they are going to need an outstanding pitching effort. They have been getting that lately, but they will be really tested in this series against the top run scoring team in the National League.
The Braves are led by the usual suspects in Chipper Jones, and Brian McCann, but are also getting solid production from Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward. The Cubs should be able to take advantage of a Braves pitching staff that has been knocked around a bit this season. The Braves come into the series with a 4.41 ERA which ranks 14th in the National League. The Cubs haven’t lost a series since the April 20-22 series to the Reds, let’s keep that going, go Cubs!
Full preview/breakdown after the jump.