Chicago Cubs: Team gears up for stretch run against Atlanta Braves

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 28: Anthony Rizzo
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 28: Anthony Rizzo /

It’s September and the Chicago Cubs look to kick the final stretch off right, as John Lackey makes the start against the Atlanta Braves Friday afternoon.

The calendar has turned to Sept 1. and the Chicago Cubs have the opportunity to restock as rosters expand today. Just in time for a pennant-stretch run as the Cubs look to stay hot on a current seven-game homestand.

The Starters

Friday against the Atlanta Braves, it will be veteran John Lackey (10-10, 4.98 ERA) getting the ball for Joe Maddon. He is coming off his first loss of the second-half last time out against the Phillies.

In that outing, he went five innings, allowed four earned runs, five total on six hits. He struck out eight and walked one.

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Lackey was 2-1, 5.47 ERA for the month of August and only made it past exactly five innings twice. He has not made it past six innings in a game since June 2 against the Cardinals.

Against the Braves July 18, he picked up the win going five innings, allowing one run on five hits. In his career against Atlanta, Lackey is 2-1, 2.45 ERA in five starts.

On the mound for Atlanta will be Mike Foltynewicz (10-10, 4.84 ERA).

Foltynewicz had a very rough month of August, going 1-4 and posting an 8.61 ERA. He enters Friday’s action on a 4-game losing streak. Last time out against the Marlins, he went five innings and allowed one run on four hits.

Against Foltynewicz, batters are hitting .342 off him over his last six outings and he has allowed an earned run an inning over that span. He has not faced the Cubs this season.

Torrid offense

Braves slugger Freddie Freeman leads the NL in 1.242 OPS in day games. Ender Inciarte is 11th among batting average for the NL (.309) and has 173 hits on the year which is second-best in the league.

Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo just completed a torrid month that saw him become the first Cubs player to record 30 RBI in a month since Sammy Sosa did it in 2001.

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What’s next

The Cubs and Braves resume Saturday afternoon. Jon Lester returns from the DL to face the Braves and Lucas Sims (2-4, 4.41 ERA).

First pitch from Wrigley Field is 1:20 pm C.T.