MLB Picks 2012: Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves

The Chicago Cubs (30-49) and Atlanta Braves (41-38) will continue a three-game National League series on Tuesday night at Turner Field, with the opening pitch scheduled for 7:10 ET

Chicago Cubs at Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves offense has been shut down by the Chicago Cubs' pitching staff in 2012

Chicago has now won a season-high four games after picking up a 4-1 road victory over Atlanta on Monday night, as the club has been jolted by the play of young rookie Anthony Rizzo, who has reached base safely in five of his first six games.  “Rizzo’s presence in our lineup is big,” stated Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija.  He is batting .304 with five RBIs since being called up from the minors.  The club has split its first four games against the Braves during the 2012 season series.  Chicago is 8-13 when the total is 8 to 8.5, with the “under” going 13-7 in that situation.

Cubs starting pitcher Chris Volstad (0-6, 7.46 ERA) will be making his first start since May 17, posting a 2-3 mark and 4.44 ERA in eight outings with Triple-A Iowa.  The right-hander is 0-2 with a 6.50 ERA in three road starts, as opposing hitters are batting .303 against him.  In nine career games versus the Braves, Volstad has compiled a 2-4 record and 4.22 ERA, including an even 2-2 mark and 4.08 ERA in five appearances at this ballpark.

Atlanta has dropped four of its last five games, as the squad continues to battle inconsistent play that has held it back at time during the 2012 campaign.  “This team at times plays brilliantly,” commented Braves third baseman Chipper Jones.  “At other times, we resemble the Bad News Bears.”  The Braves have managed to score just five runs combined in the four games against the Cubs this season.  Atlanta is 29-24 in July over the last two-plus campaigns.

Braves starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens (1-2, 6.07 ERA) has pitched well in two starts since returning from the minors to correct things, allowing three runs and nine hits over 13.1 innings over that span.  The right-hander has yet to record a decision in three home outings, with opposing hitters batting .339 against him.  In four career games versus the Cubs, Jurrjens has compiled an even 1-1 record and 2.59 ERA, but has issued 11 walks and collected just six strikeouts in 24.1 combined frames.

Bettors will likely back the Braves due to their 7-0 mark in Jurrjens’ last seven starts versus NL Central opponents, while the Cubs are 0-8 in Volstad’s last eight efforts.

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