Ryu out to avoid sweep

Ryu to face Smoltz in series finale

The Cubs will look to a pitcher who will be making his first career start to help end the team's five-game losing streak.

Right-hander Jae Kuk Ryu will be called up from Triple-A Iowa to start against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday.

"Reports are that he knows how to pitch," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "He has three real good pitches that he can control. The whole thing is, can he transfer that to the big leagues with the same relaxed mode that he showed us and pitch the same way he did down there?"

At Iowa, Ryu struck out 42 batters in 51 1/3 innings, with an ERA of 3.16.

Ryu has pitched briefly in the Majors, striking out two in one inning of relief work against San Diego on May 14 in his lone appearance.

To get his first Major League win, Ryu will need some timely hitting from the Cubs' offense. Saturday, the Cubs were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position in a 2-1 loss to the Braves. For the second game in a row, the Cubs lost despite outhitting the Braves.

Pitching matchup
ATL: RHP John Smoltz (4-2, 3.12 ERA)
Smoltz will be seeking to notch his fourth consecutive win when he makes his first start of the season against the Cubs. The right-hander tossed seven scoreless innings in a victorious effort against the Padres on Monday. He has allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of his past 18 starts and is 15-4 with a 2.91 ERA in 37 career appearances (27 starts) against the Cubs.

CHI: RHP Jae Kuk Ryu (0-0, 9.00 ERA)
The Korean rookie impressed the Cubs this spring. In his last start for Iowa, he gave up three runs on three hits over eight innings and struck out five. He'll be the fourth rookie starter the Cubs have used this year.

Player to watch
It's a good thing Cubs catcher Michael Barrett has yet to start his suspension, which is currently under appeal. Barrett is hitting .313 in 16 career at-bats including one homer against Smoltz.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•   Gameday
•   Official game notes

On television
• WGN

On radio
• WGN 720 AM

Up next
• Monday: Reds (RHP Elizardo Ramirez, 2-3, 3.72) at Cubs (RHP Kerry Wood, 0-1, 6.30), 1:20 p.m. CT
• Tuesday: Reds (LHP Brandon Claussen, 3-5, 5.25) at Cubs (RHP Greg Maddux, 5-4, 4.28), 7:05 p.m. CT
• Wednesday: Reds (LHP Eric Milton, 2-2, 5.52) at Cubs (RHP Carlos Zambrano, 3-2, 3.45), 7:05 p.m. CT

Ryan Crawford is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.