7/5 Extra bases
* Hopefully, Matt Garza found some Popeye’s chicken near Turner Field. That’s his favorite pre-game meal. He’ll take the mound Thursday night to close the Cubs series in Atlanta. He has held opponents to a .235 batting average. The Cubs have scored three or fewer runs while Garza has been in the game in 11 of his 15 starts, including four starts without a run scored.
* The Cubs will face Braves lefty Mike Minor . They’ll also face a lefty in two of the three games in New York against the Mets. The Cubs are 6-17 against left-handed starters this season and batting .220 against left-handed pitching, second lowest in the National League.
* Carlos Marmol is 6-for-6 in save opportunities in his last nine outings with a 1.04 ERA, giving up one earned run over 8 2/3 innings, walking five and striking out 15.
* Please note: Saturday’s game between the Cubs and Diamondbacks will start at 12:05 p.m. CT at Wrigley Field and be broadcast on WGN-TV.
* Ryan Dempster could start Sunday in the last game before the All-Star break. It will either be him or Chris Volstad. Here are the pitching matchups against the Mets:
Friday: LHP Travis Wood (3-3, 3.05) vs. LHP Johan Santana (6-4, 2.76)
Saturday: RHP Jeff Samardzija (6-7, 4.77) vs. RHP Dillon Gee (5-7, 4.34)
Sunday: TBD vs. LHP Jonathon Niese (7-3, 3.35)
– Carrie Muskat