Chicago Cubs Probable Pitchers: At Atlanta Braves, Apr. 5-7

1 of 8

Chicago Cubs Probable Pitchers Include Two Debuts and Jeff Samardzija

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs completed their first series of the 2013 MLB season—and they’re still above .500. From Apr. 1 and 3-4, the Cubs won two of three games against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs won on Apr. 1 (3-1) and Apr. 4 (3-2). The Pirates won on Apr. 3 (3-0).

Probable pitchers for the upcoming series against the Atlanta Braves include Scott Feldman, Carlos Villanueva and Jeff Samardzija. That series will last from Apr. 5-7. Feldman and Villanueva will make their Cubs regular-season debuts. Samardzija looks to build off a dominant Opening Day performance when he allowed just two hits and one walk in eight innings.

The Braves have a 2-0 record as they prepare for their Thursday night game against the Philadelphia Phillies. Unlike the Pirates, the Braves offense is loaded with sluggers. Freddie Freeman, B.J. Upton, Justin Upton, Jason Heyward and Dan Uggla are all capable of 30-homer seasons. Brian McCann will miss this series after he underwent shoulder surgery this past offseason.

McCannn’s absence hasn’t slowed down the Braves offense. In their first two games, the Braves scored 16 runs and hit six homers. Not bad when one considers that they faced Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay. For the Cubs to win this series, their offense will have to complement their pitching with more than six runs.

The following slideshow is a brief summary of each probable pitcher and matchup for the Cubs vs. Braves series. How will the Cubs match up against one of the National League’s finest teams? Continue with slideshow.

2 of 8

Chicago Cubs: RHP Scott Feldman

Chicago Cubs: RHP Scott Feldman
Jennifer Hilderbrand-USA TODAY Sports

In six starts during spring training, Scott Feldman finished with an 11.25 ERA. Feldman won’t last long if he pitches anywhere near that poorly in his Cubs regular-season debut on Friday night. He comes over from the Texas Rangers after a 2012 season when he had a 5.09 ERA and 1.38 WHIP

3 of 8

Atlanta Braves: LHP Mike Minor

Atlanta Braves: LHP Mike Minor
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Since Mike Minor is a left-handed pitcher, there’s a good chance that Cubs manager Dale Sveum keeps David DeJesus and Nate Schierholtz out of the lineup. In 2012, Minor won his only start against the Cubs. He had a 2.84 ERA and 0.79 WHIP in that game.

4 of 8

Chicago Cubs: RHP Carlos Villanueva

Chicago Cubs: RHP Carlos Villanueva
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

After Matt Garza and Scott Baker were lost to injuries, Carlos Villanueva was automatically inserted into the No. 5 role. After spending the last two seasons facing the powerful lineups in the American League East, Villanueva shouldn’t back down from the Braves lineup.

5 of 8

Atlanta Braves: RHP Julio Teheran

Atlanta Braves: RHP Julio Teheran
Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

The 22-year-old Julio Teheran enters this season as the No. 5 pitcher in the Braves starting rotation. Teheran is considered among the top pitching prospects in baseball. He’ll have the element of uncertainty on his side.

6 of 8

Chicago Cubs: RHP Jeff Samardzija

Chicago Cubs: RHP Jeff Samardzija
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Is this another favorable opponent for Jeff Samardzija? In two starts last season, Samardzija had a 2-0 record with a 1.29 ERA and 0.86 WHIP. One of those performances came in an 11-strikeout gem at Turner Field.

7 of 8

Atlanta Braves: RHP Tim Hudson

Atlanta Braves: RHP Tim Hudson
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

In his Opening Day assignment, Tim Hudson earned a no-decision when he lasted just 4.1 innings. He had a 6.23 ERA and 2.08 WHIP. Despite that, the Braves won 7-5. In one start against the Cubs in 2012, Hudson had a 0-1 record with a 1.29 ERA and 0.71 WHIP.

8 of 8

Summary

Summary
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 5: Scott Feldman vs. Mike Minor

Apr 6: Carlos Villanueva vs. Julio Teheran

Apr 7: Jeff Samardzija vs. Tim Hudson

Here’s something to keep an eye on: Carlos Marmol ($9.8 million) vs. Craig Kimbrel ($655,000). For one team, the games don’t start until the ninth. For the other, they end in the eighth. And the money has nothing to do with who plays what role.

Joshua Huffman is a contributor for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your LinkedIn and Google networks.

Around the Web