Chicago Cubs: John Lackey makes his return against Atlanta

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 05: Starting pitcher John Lackey
CHICAGO, IL - JULY 05: Starting pitcher John Lackey /

Rolling out of the All-Star Break, the Chicago Cubs turn to John Lackey, back from Plantar Fasciitis, as they battle the Atlanta Braves Tuesday night.

So far, so good for the Chicago Cubs.

Looking rejuvenated out of the All-Star Break, the Cubs go for their fifth consecutive victory Tuesday night against Sean Newcomb and the Atlanta Braves.

Better pitching

Starting pitching has finally been at the highest point it’s been all season. The last three games have seen Cubs’ starters each go into the seventh inning, and are 3-0 with a 0.87 ERA.

It’s up to John Lackey to continue that success.

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Though Lackey has struggled much of the season, including a career-worst 2.19 HR/9, it’s a chance for him to show the Cubs what he may still have for a second-half push. While Atlanta has power in their lineup, they rank 12th among home runs in the NL.

Rookie Braves’ starter Sean Newcomb enters action 1-4, 4.26. Making his MLB debut June 10, he started off with four starts of at least six innings.

He’s come back to earth however, after back-to-back disastrous outings against the Nationals and Astros in which he failed to make it past four innings and allowed 11 runs in the last two starts.

Scorching offense

The offense has been hot, including a third home run by Anthony Rizzo in as many games.

Shortstop Addison Russell returns to the Cubs’ lineup. Russell is 5-for-13 over his last three games, and 9-for-33 during the month of July, good for a .351 average.

Willson Contreras is back behind the plate and cleaning up. He’s hitting .391 in July, even after a 0-for-4 last night. Contreras is 8-for-16 over his last four games. Ben Zobrist is in left field, and Albert Almora Jr. will take over in center.

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What’s Next

Chicago and Atlanta conclude their three-game set Wednesday afternoon at SunTrust Park.

Mike Montgomery (1-6, 4.01 ERA) gets the start against R.A. Dickey (6-5, 4.08 ERA). First pitch Wednesday is at 11:10 a.m. CT from Atlanta.