One month into his major-league career, it is hard to imagine Atlanta’s Andrelton Simmons making a bigger impact. The rookie shortstop hit .333 in 25 games in June, winning National League Rookie of the Month honors. Already regarded as one of the top defensive shortstops in the league, the 22-year-old led the Atlanta Braves with 10 multi-hit games in June. Simmons’ already is drawing comparisons to his shortstop counterpart at Turner Field the next three games. Chicago’s Starlin Castro is hitting .292 and earned his second consecutive All-Star berth on Sunday for a Cubs team languishing at the bottom of the NL Central standings.
Chicago’s Chris Volstad makes his return to the majors after eight starts for Triple-A Iowa in Tuesday’s second contest of a four-game series. The Cubs traded Carlos Zambrano for Volstad, who went winless in eight starts for Chicago before a May demotion to the minors. Atlanta starter Jair Jurrjens did not make it to May before being shipped to Triple-A Gwinnett. Jurrjens makes his third start since returning to Atlanta. The Chicago Cubs claimed Monday’s series opener with a 4-1 triumph on Monday.
Cubs Braves Betting
When: 7:10 PM ET, Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Where: Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, CSN (Chicago), SportSouth (Atlanta).
PITCHING MATCHUP: Chicago RH Chris Volstad (0-6, 7.46 ERA) vs. Atlanta RH Jair Jurrjens (1-2, 6.07 ERA).
Volstad returns to take the spot of injured Ryan Dempster. He went 2-3 with a 4.44 ERA in eight Triple-A starts, but his WHIP (1.40) and opponents’ batting average (.294) were only marginally better than the marks he posted for Chicago (1.61 WHIP, .302 opponents’ average).
The Braves still are trying to determine how much of an asset Jurrjens will be in the second half. After winning in his return to the rotation, the right-hander gave up six hits and two earned runs with no strikeouts Thursday against Arizona. He received a no-decision.
1. A boost from Volstad would be welcomed for a Chicago staff ranking 27th in baseball in ERA (4.38). Chicago starters are 20-33, ranking 28th in the majors in victories from starters.
2. The Cubs have won a season-high four in a row and are winners of six of their past seven.
3. Jurrjens is 1-1 lifetime in four career starts against the Cubs.