Cubs - Braves Series Preview

The Braves will host the Cubs at Turner Field for the opening series of 2010. Here is a breakdown of the pitching matchups in the series.

Monday - Carlos Zambrano (9-7, 3.77 in 2009) vs. Derek Lowe (15-10, 4.67 in 2009)
Lowe gets his second consecutive opening day nod, and Zambrano makes his sixth opening day start for the Cubs. Both pitchers are coming off of disappointing 2009 seasons. Zambrano only won 9 games, and Braves fans know how poorly Lowe finished the season.

Zambrano was 0-1 against the Braves last year, though he pitched well in his only start against Atlanta, giving up only 2 runs in a pitching duel with Javier Vazquez. Carlos has a 2-and-3 record in 11 lifetime starts against the Braves. Walks have been his Achilles heel when facing the Atlanta, as he has allowed almost a walk every two innings.

Lowe did not get a decision last year in one start against the Cubs, though he threw a quality start only to see a tie game lost by Jeff Bennett. Lowe is 2-and-1 against the Cubs lifetime in nine starts with a 3.17 ERA. So if history is any judge he should be able to handle Chicago, though expect a close game.

Wednesday - Ryan Dempster (11-9, 3.64 ERA in 2009) vs. Jair Jurrjens (14-10, 2.60 ERA in 2009)
Dempster was winless against Atlanta last year in a well pitched game. He was also a victim of a well-pitched Javier Vazuqez start, with the bullpen holding on for the shutout victory. Dempster has an abysmal lifetime record of 2-and-11 against the Braves in 15 starts and 26 games.

Jurrjens had one of his poorer starts against any team last year when he faced the Cubs. He allowed 7 hits and 3 walks which led to 4 runs and his 7th loss of the season. That was the only time Jurrjens has faced the Cubs in his career.

Thursday - Randy Wells (12-10, 3.05 in 2009) vs. Tommy Hanson (11-4, 2.89 in 2009)
This will be a matchup of two of the top rookies on the mound from last year. Hanson finished 3rd in the Rookie of the Year voting, and Wells finished 6th

Wells was 1-and-0 in two starts against the Braves last year. He posted two quality starts giving up only 2 runs in each game. He certainly seemed to have the Braves batters figured out.

Hanson has not faced the Cubs in his career.

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