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Game Preview: Braves will go for series victory against Cubs

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The two teams on opposite sides of the standings have surprisingly exchanged haymakers this weekend. Who will land the decisive blow in this series, though?

Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

After defying all odds on Friday night by cruising to a 5-1 victory over baseball’s best team in the Chicago Cubs, things sadly looked a little bit more normal on Saturday afternoon. That’s when the Cubs teed off on Matt Wisler and sent four balls flying over the fences at Turner Field and Jake Arrieta stymied the Braves’ offense on their way to an 8-2 victory. However, the Braves still have a shot to hold some bizarre bragging rights over the Cubs, as they look to take a series against Chicago in today’s game.

A couple of big talking points for the Braves today revolve their starting pitcher and the return of a player from the DL. First off, John Gant will be making his return to the mound today, and he’ll be doing it as the starter for the Braves. He’s definitely being thrown right into the fire when you consider that the Cubs currently have one of baseball’s best offensive arsenals (.255/.348/.424 with 73 HRs and 108 wRC+ as a team) and are probably feeling really confident after knocking around another relatively inexperienced pitcher yesterday. However, if Gant can at least keep the Cubs at bay, then that’ll be a good sign going forward since he’ll probably be in the rotation for the time being.

Meanwhile, Erick Aybar has been activated from the Disabled List and will be starting at shortstop, and Daniel Castro has been sent down. Statistically speaking, this is a lateral move since these two have had remarkably similar stats at the plate and when it comes to fielding the shortstop position. Still, the hope here is that Aybar can return from his stint on the DL somewhat rejuvenated. Things can’t get much worse for him, right?

The Braves will be dealing with Jon Lester today, who’s coming off of two absolutely amazing starts against the Dodgers and Phillies, respectively. In those two starts, he went 17 innings, struck out 19, walked none, and only gave up one earned run and that was on a solo home run. Needless to say, Lester is really feeling it right now, and the Braves will need to be at their absolute best if they’re going to get something off of the 32-year-old lefty today.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: June 12, 1:35 p.m. ET

Location: Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia

TV: FOX Sports South

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