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Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves Free Pick - 9/20/13

Atlanta Braves (90-62) at Chicago Cubs (64-89)

MLB Baseball: Friday, September 20, 2013 at 2:20 pm (Wrigley Field)

Paul Maholm (L) (10-10) (4.351) vs. Scott Baker (R) (0-0) (0.818)

The Line: Chicago Cubs +118 / Atlanta Braves -128 --- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: FS-South, CSN-Chicago

The Atlanta Braves travel to Wrigley Field to open a series with the Chicago Cubs on Friday.

Atlanta snapped a three game slide with a 5-2 win at Washington that not only prevented a sweep but most important it reduced their magic number to only two games. The Braves are in the driver's seat as they control their own fate and would like to sew things up as soon as possible and set their sights on the first roof the postseason. Alex Wood allowed two unearned runs over 4.2 frames but six relievers held the red hot Nationals off the scoreboard. Atlanta rallied from a 2-0 hole with Justn Upton cracking a two run bomb and Dan Uggla going solo in a three run 6th that essentially ended this. Left hander Paul Maholm is scheduled to take the mound versus the Cubs if his ailing elbow is 100%. Maholm is coming off a no decision in a 3-2 loss to Philadelphia with two runs allowed in six frames.

Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves Free Pick - 9/20/13


I always say the Cubs could lose 20 straight games and the minute you expect loss number 21, they win. That's how I saw it Wednesday with Chicago facing Milwaukee's best hurler and emerging with a 5-1 victory. Did I mention Chicago had dropped seven of eight as well before Thursday? Jake Arrieta picked up the win with the lone run allowed through seven innings pitched on a solo homer. The Cubs offense exploded with a 13 hit attack that featured home runs from Brian Bogusevic, Nate Schierholtz and Luis Valbuena, The Cubs hand the ball to Scott Baker who makes his third straight start after missing 2012 with elbow surgery. Baker has been outstanding in two outings with just a single run allowed over eleven innings.

The Braves can lock up the division as soon as Friday with a win and Washington loss so the incentive is there to win. I'll back the Braves and hope Baker is a little off...

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