Atlanta Braves Tommy Hanson Seeks First Victory in Windy City vs. Chicago Cubs

Jeff GrantContributor IMay 7, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 21:  Pitcher Tommy Hanson of the Atlanta Braves delivers a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of a MLB game at Chase Field on April 21, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Ralph Freso/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves (18-11) and Chicago Cubs (11-17) will open up a three-game National League series on Monday night at Wrigley Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 p.m. ET.

Las Vegas oddsmakers have established the Braves as minus-120 road favorites, while the total has dropped by a half run to settle in at seven.

Chicago opened up its current six-game homestand by winning two of three games against the Los Angeles Dodgers, including a 4-3 win on Sunday. The Cubs have managed to go "under" the total in eight of their last 10 games.

Cubs starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija (3-1, 3.41 ERA) has led the club to four victories in his first starts, as he comes off a 3-1 road win over the Cincinnati Reds. He allowed one run and three hits over 7.2 frames in that effort.

The right-hander has been brilliant in two home starts in 2011, going 1-0 with a 0.59 ERA, as opponents are hitting just .154 against him.

In six career relief appearances versus the Braves, Samardzija has allowed six runs (four earned) and four hits over 6.1 combined innings. Atlanta leadoff hitter Michael Bourn has three hits in five career-at bats against him.

The Cubs are 4-0 in their last four games opening a series, while the "under" is 9-3 in the last 12 meetings in this series when played in the Windy City.

Atlanta certainly got the bats going in picking up a three-game road sweep of the Colorado Rockies, scoring 29 runs over the course of the series. The Braves have managed to win six of eight series overall this year, as they begin a stretch of playing nine consecutive games against NL Central foes.

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 2: Michael Bourn #24 of the Atlanta Braves slides into third base against the Philadelphia Phillies at Turner Field on May 2, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Braves starting pitcher Tommy Hanson (3-2, 3.74 ERA) didn't last long enough to earn a decision in a 15-13 home win over the Philadelphia Phillies last time out, giving up four runs and eight hits over 3.2 innings.

The right-hander is 2-1 with a 2.65 ERA in three road starts this year, surrendering just a single home run over 17 frames.

In two career starts versus the Cubs, Hanson is still looking for his first victory, posting an 0-2 mark and 5.23 ERA. He suffered a 5-4 loss in his only start at Wrigley Field on Aug. 21, 2010, giving up five runs (four earned) and seven hits over five frames.

The Braves are 10-1 in their last 11 games as a road favorite, while the "under" is 8-3-1 in that situation.

Weather forecasts suggest a 30 percent chance of showers and game-time temperatures in the low-60s, with a northern breeze of 5-10 mph (in from left).


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