Chicago Cubs open second half against the scuffling Atlanta Braves


Schwarber makes his highly anticipated return to Cubs

It seems like this hiatus after the All-Star break has lasted a month for the Chicago Cubs. It could be because, for the first time in years, the Cubs are still in contention for the playoffs after the break. It’s hard not to be at least a little excited and optimistic, even though they could lose Miguel Montero for an extended period of time. Kyle Hendricks (4-4, 3.55) will take the mound for the Cubs to take on Julio Teheran (6-4, 4.56) of the Braves.

The break for the Cubs (47-40) may have come at just the right time, as things just weren’t clicking offensively. With the bad news that Montero could miss possibly six weeks, the good news is that Kyle Schwarber will make his return. The Cubs will possibly keep three catchers still on the roster–which won’t be unusual after doing so all season before Welington Castillo was traded.

Schwarber’s development at catcher is priority one, so how the Cubs use him will be interesting, as he’s too valuable to simply be a bench off the bat, and still hasn’t played a lot of innings in the outfield. But his offensive potential is something the team desperately needs right now.

The Braves (42-47) were once the darlings of the NL East after being busy in trades during the offseason but leading the division for a brief period. But the struggling Nationals have found their way and the Mets have used amazing pitching to shift the order of the division.

Teheran has been ver good at his home park, going 5-0 with a 2.04 ERA in eight starts. But the Braves have had just as much difficulty scoring runs as the Cubs, if not worse. They’ve hit just .167 with runners in scoring position over their recent five-game losing streak.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. CT at Turner Field. CSN will have the TV coverage while WBBM 780 has the radio broadcast.

Here are the starting lineups for tonight’s contest:

Next: Cubs call up Schwarber