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Game Preview: Braves open series against red-hot Cubs

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Atlanta opens a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs on Friday night.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

As is human nature for fans rooting for a struggling team, the focus for Braves Country over the past 24 hours has been on the MLB Draft, as supporters are hopeful that the future will bring brighter days than the present. But as the Atlanta Braves continue to take pitcher after pitcher in the draft, the current team will take on the red-hot Chicago Cubs, beginning a three-game series on Friday night, in what looks to be a clear and obvious mismatch.

The Cubs come into Turner Field winners of 12 of their last 15 games, and the pitching matchup features two pitchers with win-loss records that are the inverse of each other.

Jason Hammel will toe the rubber for Chicago, and is 7-1 with a 2.14 ERA so far this season. In his last start, he gave up just one hit and two runs in seven innings against the Diamondbacks, so the Braves will undoubtedly have their work cut out for them.

Despite those numbers, Braves hitters have fared pretty well against Hammel over the course of his career. Nick Markakis is a .474 (9-for-19) hitter against him with a homer and five RBIs. Freddie Freeman is 5-for-8 with a pair of home runs. A.J. Pierzynski is the other current Brave with a long ball off Hammel, and Jeff Francoeur has four hits in nine at-bats in his career.

Hammel has also never won more than 10 games in a season in his career, and is making $9 million this season in Chicago. He's done pretty well for hiimself.

For Atlanta, Bud Norris will take the mound, with a less-than-stellar 1-7 record and 5.28 ERA on the year. He was forced back into the rotation this week after Mike Foltynewicz was placed on the disabled list, and held the Los Angeles Dodgers to just one run in five innings in his first start since April 27.

Ben Zobrist has seen Norris more than anyone on the Cubs, and only has two hits in 20 plate appearances. Dexter Fowler is 4-for-6 off the veteran righty, Jason Heyward is 3-for-9, and Anthony Rizzo is a paltry 0-for-10 lifetime versus Norris.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: June 10, 7:35 p.m. ET

Location: Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia

TV: FOX Sports South

Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM, WYAY 106.7, Braves Radio Network