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  W: J. Lackey (11-10)   L: M. Foltynewicz (10-11)   S: W. Davis (28)
11:20 AM PT12:20 PM MT1:20 PM CT2:20 PM ET14:20 ET18:20 GMT2:20 11:20 AM MST1:20 PM EST1:50 PM VEN22:20 UAE1:20 PM CT, September 1, 2017
Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois  Attendance: 37,280

Braves hope Inciarte stays hot against Cubs

According to STATS
According to STATS

Atlanta Braves at Chicago Cubs

  1. The Cubs swept three games at Atlanta in July, improving to 12-3 over the last 15 games in the series (since July 18, 2015). Over those last 15 games, the Cubs have outscored the Braves, 89-39, and outhomered them, 25-11.
  2. After going 0-5-1 over their previous six series, the Braves are coming off a 2-1 series victory fueled by Wednesday's doubleheader sweep at Philadelphia. In addition, Atlanta is batting .317 as a team over its last 11 games (since August 19), the highest mark in the majors.
  3. The Cubs are averaging 6.61 runs per game in August, their most in any month (minimum 15 games) since scoring 6.94 runs per game in July 1935. Chicago's average has increased from 4.21 runs per game in May, to 4.46 in June, 4.96 in July and 6.61 in August.
  4. Ender Inciarte went 8-for-10 in Wednesday's doubleheader, becoming the first Brave to collect at least eight hits in a twin bill since Eddie Mathews of the Milwaukee Braves went 8-for-9 against the Cubs on 9/6/1954.
  5. Rookie Sean Newcomb has averaged 12.00 strikeouts per nine innings over five road starts, the second-highest rate in the National League (minimum 5 GS; Max Scherzer 12.29). But in addition, Newcomb is averaging 5.67 walks per nine innings on the road, which also is second highest in the NL (Nick Pivetta, 5.71).
  6. Kyle Hendricks has tended to fare better the more dire the situation, as his opponent batting average this season is .254 with the bases empty, .231 with runners on, .176 with runners in scoring position and .125 with runners in scoring position and two outs.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 8/31/2017 thru 9/3/2017

CHICAGO -- Ender Inciarte was already having an impressive season, keeping a pace to become the first Atlanta Braves player with 200 hits since 1996.

Then came Wednesday.

The 26-year-old leadoff batter went 8-for-10 with five RBIs during the Braves' doubleheader sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies. He was the first player to amass eight hits and five RBIs in a single day since Minnesota's Tony Oliva on July 29, 1969.

"It was a big day for him. Doubleheader, to get eight hits in a day? That's pretty impressive," said Braves starter Julio Teheran, who got the victory in a 5-2 Game 2 decision. "It's impressive. He's been doing that all year."

While the Wednesday total production was exceptional, it is consistent hitting that makes Inciarte dangerous as the Chicago Cubs try to figure out how to handle him during a weekend Wrigley Field series.

Inciarte went a modest 1-for-4 on Thursday in the series opener against the Cubs, including a third-inning double to right. He finished the night with a .309 average that ranks 11th in the National League. His total of 173 hits ranks second in the NL.

"It was fun," Inciarte said of his Wednesday performance. "You come here just thinking you're going to play two games and try to get on base for your teammates, and I end up having a really good day."

The only other Braves player with eight hits in a single day was Buck Jordan on Aug. 25, 1936.

The Braves (59-73) fell 6-2 to the Cubs (73-60) on Thursday. Chicago is now 30-15 since the All-Star break and a season-high 13 games over .500

Atlanta sends right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (10-10, 4.84 ERA) against Cubs right-hander John Lackey (10-10, 4.98) on Friday.

Foltynewicz lost each of his last four starts and five of his past six. He is 0-1 lifetime against the Cubs with a 13.50 ERA in one start, allowing seven runs on eight hits in a 4 2/3-inning outing on Aug. 20, 2015.

In Lackey's most recent start, Sunday at Philadelphia, he allowed no runs through four innings before the Phillies hit him for five runs (four earned) in the fifth inning on the way to a 6-3 Cubs loss.

That snapped a run of eight consecutive Chicago wins in games started by Lackey.

"I have a lot of faith in John Lackey," Cubs manager Joe Maddon recently told WSCR-AM, the Cubs' flagship radio station. "Even if the start (recently) wasn't exactly what you're looking for, this guy, the word is 'compete.' I think that word."

Lackey is 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in five career starts against Atlanta. He earned a win on July 18 at SunTrust Park, allowing one run on five hits in a 5-1 victory.

One player Lackey won't have to face Friday is Brandon Phillips, as the Braves dealt the veteran infielder to the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday. Atlanta, which agreed to pick up part of Phillips' remaining salary for the year, received minor league catcher Tony Sanchez in the trade.

Cubs left-hander Jon Lester is scheduled to come off the disabled list on Saturday to take the mound against Braves right-hander Lucas Simms. Lester has been on the disabled list since Aug. 18 with left lat tightness and general shoulder fatigue.

Updated September 1, 2017

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