Braves Host Dodgers
Behind some exceptional pitching, the Atlanta Braves have moved within a game of .500. They'll give the ball to their youngest player as they try to get back to the break-even mark.
The Braves look to win their fourth in a row and sweep the Los Angeles Dodgers for the first time in eight years when the teams wrap up their three-game set Sunday at Turner Field.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Los Angeles -108 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 9.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 55% of bets for this game have been placed on Atlanta –102 View MLB Bet Percentages). Bet this game.
Atlanta (8-9) is coming off a 4-1 victory over the Dodgers on Saturday, as Chuck James gave up one run in five innings in place of the injured Tom Glavine. James was recalled from Triple-A Richmond on Friday after Glavine went on the disabled list for the first time in his 22-year career.
James, and some other unlikely pitchers, including Jeff Bennett, Will Ohman and Manny Acosta, have been the reason for Atlanta's latest turnaround.
After allowing 15 runs during a three-game losing streak, the Braves have yielded only two runs during their three-game winning streak. In those 27 innings, opponents are batting just .165 and have struck out 27 times. The team's ERA has dropped from 4.29 to 3.64 during the run.
"Pitching is a catalyst to winning," Atlanta's Mark Teixeira told the team's official Web site. "For us to have these kind of outings the last three days, you're going to win a lot of games when you don't give up many runs."
With a win in this game, the Braves can get back to .500 for the first time since they were 3-3 on April 6. Atlanta has not swept a three-game series over the Dodgers (7-10) since April 25-27, 2000.
The Braves turn to rookie Jair Jurrjens (1-2, 3.93 ERA) in the series finale.
Jurrjens, who was acquired in an offseason trade that sent shortstop Edgar Renteria to Detroit, has gotten off to a decent start with Atlanta.
After allowing two runs in 5 1-3 innings in a win over Pittsburgh on April 2, Jurrjens has given up six runs in 13 innings in losing his last two starts. The 22-year-old right-hander allowed two runs and four hits in six innings of Tuesday's 4-0 loss to Florida.
This will be his first career start versus the Dodgers.
On Saturday, Teixeira had a two-run single, while Jeff Francoeur knocked in his 14th run of the season on a groundout.
Chipper Jones, who had hit two homers in each of the two previous games, had a single Saturday to extend his hit streak to 11. He's batting .465 (20-for-43) with five home runs and 12 RBIs during his run.
Andruw Jones, the longtime Braves center fielder who signed a two-year, $36.2 million deal with Los Angeles in December, hit his first homer of the season Saturday. He's batting only .182 with three RBIs and 18 strikeouts in 17 games with the Dodgers.
"Everybody feels the urgency of getting the offense to where it should be," Los Angeles manager Joe Torre said.
The Dodgers have won only three of 11 after starting the season 4-2. They arrived at Turner Field scoring 19 runs in their previous two games.
Hiroki Kuroda (1-1, 2.89) looks to help the Dodgers avoid the sweep when he makes his first career start against the Braves.
Kuroda, who signed with Los Angeles in December after 11 seasons with Hiroshima in the Japanese Central League, has given up six earned runs in 18 2-3 innings over three starts.
He was in line to pick up his second win of the season on Monday, but his bullpen could not preserve the lead. The right-hander allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings of a 6-4 loss to Pittsburgh, but did not factor in the decision.