Cubs open lengthy trek with makeup game vs. Braves

The Chicago Cubs were supposed to have a travel day on Thursday. It was going to be a respite before a nine-day road trip against three potential playoff teams.

But an early-season rainout has changed that plan and created a one-game stop in Atlanta before the lengthy swing. The Cubs will play the National League East-leading Atlanta Braves on Thursday in a makeup of a game that was rained out on May 17.

Chicago will send left-hander Mike Montgomery (4-4, 3.62 ERA) to the mound to oppose Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (10-8, 2.67).

Neither team comes into the game rested. The Cubs had to finish a suspended game on Wednesday before playing their regularly scheduled game against the New York Mets. Chicago won the suspended game in 11 innings and lost the regular game before flying to Atlanta.

The Braves only had one game, but a pair of rain delays totaling one hour, 47 minutes didn’t allow the 8-5 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays to be completed until 12:30 a.m. Atlanta leads Philadelphia by 3 1/2 games in the division.

Montgomery will be activated from the disabled list to make his 14th start of the season. He was sidelined on Aug. 14 with left shoulder inflammation and hasn’t pitched since Aug. 11 when he threw one scoreless inning of relief. He threw a 35-pitch bullpen session on Monday and declared himself fit for action.

“It was a good two weeks for me to give (my arm) a refresher,” Montgomery said. “It’s one of those things where it could’ve gone bad if I didn’t address it. I didn’t want something that could take two weeks to cost me the rest of the season.”

Montgomery’s last start came on Aug. 7 at Kansas City, when he pitched six scoreless innings. He has pitched at least five innings in all 13 of his starts.

Montgomery has made four career appearances against Atlanta. He is 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA, all with the Cubs. He has a 3.27 ERA in his last two starts against the Braves, both in 2017. In his only start at SunTrust Park on July 19, 2017, Montgomery allowed two hits and one run over six innings and hit a home run. He has made two scoreless relief appearances covering three innings against the Braves this season.

Foltynewicz has been excellent during his five starts in August. He is 3-1 with a 1.38 ERA in 32 2/3 innings with 36 strikeouts. He had a three-game winning streak snapped in his last start despite allowing just one run on two hits over six innings with eight strikeouts in a 1-0 loss to Miami on Friday.

“I thought he was really good,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “To just give up one run, that’s pretty good.”

Foltynewicz has made one start against the Cubs this season, earning no decision when he allowed one unearned run in five innings on May 15. He has never beaten the Cubs in three career starts, going 0-2 with a 5.06 ERA.