The Atlanta Braves will finally catch a break in their schedule this week as the Chicago Cubs come to Turner Field for a four-game series. This series marks the first time in nearly 50 games that the Braves will face a club with a record below .500 -- which really is an unfathomable stretch for Atlanta -- as Chicago is currently 29-49, good for the worst mark in baseball.
The Cubbies are the second-worst offensive team in baseball, ahead of just the lowly Padres. They are led by Alfonso Soriano, who has done a nice job turning his season around after a miserable first month of April. Young shortstop Starlin Castro continues to infuriate fans with his inconsistent play both at the plate and in the field, and he now has a wOBA of just .319.
Bryan LaHair had a great first two months of the season thanks to some luck, and now he's regressed a considerable amount. His triple-slash line of .284/.364/.526 is still solid, but he's still bound to come back to his customary numbers sooner rather than later.
If you're looking for a young player to watch for, Anthony Rizzo made his debut last week. Rizzo, a first baseman, has driven in a run in three of his first five games, and he's undoubtably a player Chicago is hoping to build around. He has a lot of power, but is also prone to a lot of whiffing on pitches out of the zone.
The Cubs are a rebuilding team and they're years away from contending in the National League Central. The Braves really need to take advantage of them this week, and winning at least three of the four games is expected at this point.
Pitching Matchups & Start Times:
Monday, 7:10 p.m. - Tommy Hanson vs. Jeff Samardzija
Tuesday. 7:10 p.m. - Jair Jurrjens vs. Chris Volstad
Wednesday, 7:10 p.m. - Randall Delgado vs. Paul Maholm
Thursday, 7:10 p.m. - Mike Minor vs. Matt Garza
Team Sites: Talking Chop; Bleed Cubbie Blue