Cubs Vs. Braves Preview: Samardzija Hopes To Continue Hot Start

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 08: Starting piutcher Jeff Samardzija #29 of the Chicago Cubs delivers the ball against the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field on April 8, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Cubs invite the hot-hitting Braves to Chicago, hoping to find an offensive rhythm themselves.

The Chicago Cubs (11-17) take on the hot-hitting Atlanta Braves (18-11) on Monday night, hoping SP Jeff Samardzija can cool the surging Braves bats.

Over the last seven days, the Atlanta Braves have clobbered an MLB-best 11 home runs with an overwhelming team slash of .302/.358/.472. Meanwhile, the Cubs have score only 20 runs to the Braves' 49, but sport a 3.25 ERA compared to the Braves' 6.45.

If the Cubs hope to win on Monday, they will likely need another strong outing from Samardzija. The former Notre Dame wide receiver takes the mound for his sixth start of the 2012 season, having struck out 16 batters while walking only 4 in his last two starts. He enters Monday's game looking for his fourth win of the season and a chance to lower his career-best 2.29 FIP.

Game time: 7:05 p.m. CDT

Location: Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL

Broadcast: WCIU (TV), WGN 720 (radio), WRTO 1200 (radio)

For more news and updates from around the MLB, drop by Baseball Nation with Rob Neyer, or dig deeper into the stats at Beyond the Box Score. Also, check out the team blogs Bleed Cubbie Blue and Talking Chop.

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