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With one of their top pitchers battling an injury again, the Atlanta Braves hope Tom Glavine is recovered from his first career stint on the disabled list.
They're also hoping Chipper Jones and Yunel Escobar can overcome injuries to return to the lineup.
The trio will try to help Atlanta get untracked Tuesday night when the team returns to the nation's capital for the third time in just over four weeks to open a two-game set against the Washington Nationals.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Atlanta -110 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 9 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 65% of bets for this game have been placed on Atlanta -110 (View MLB Bet Percentages). Bet this game.
The Braves (12-13) have dropped four of six since winning five in a row, and they are coming off a pair of losses at New York after opening that series with a 6-3 win on Friday. They fell 6-3 in Sunday's series finale as John Smoltz, who opened the season on the DL with right shoulder inflammation, exited after four innings with "discomfort" in his shoulder.
With Smoltz uncertain for his next turn in the rotation, Atlanta hopes Glavine (0-1, 2.38 ERA) can return from his hamstring injury in strong fashion. The 42-year-old left-hander went on the disabled list for the first time after getting hurt in the first inning of a 5-4 loss at Washington (9-17) on April 13. Glavine lasted only 16 pitches, giving up two runs and three hits without getting an out after posting a 0.79 ERA in his previous two starts.
He'll now try to re-establish his success at Washington, where he is 4-2 with a 2.56 ERA in seven starts.
Glavine hopes the likely return of Jones and Escobar can provide some punch to the offense, which hit only .224 without them in the last two games.
Jones is looking to rebound from back spasms, which flared up just prior to Saturday's defeat, while Escobar has a shattered fingernail on his right index finger after getting hit by a sinker on Friday. The shortstop, who is hitting .310, was used as a pinch runner on Sunday.
Jones has a major league-leading .433 batting average with seven homers and 20 RBIs in 23 games. The All-Star third baseman is hitting .304 with nine homers and 20 RBIs in 26 games at Washington. In four games there this year, he is 6-for-14 with two homers and three RBIs.
The Braves have become rather familiar with the Nationals' new stadium. They helped them open the park on March 30, losing 3-2 before taking two of three meetings there from April 11-13. The teams also split a two-game set at Atlanta last week.
"We know Washington better than the President does," Braves manager Bobby Cox said jokingly on the team's official Web site.
The Nationals give the ball to Tim Redding (3-2, 3.67), who is looking to improve on a shaky performance to help them win for a fourth time in five games after beating Chicago 2-0 on Sunday.
The right-hander allowed three runs and four hits with three walks in five innings of a 7-2 loss to the Mets on Wednesday. He struggled in the fifth, walking the eighth and ninth hitter with one out, which helped New York to tie the game at 2.
"Absolutely forgot how to throw strikes for two batters," Redding said. "Especially with the eight hole and pitcher's spot up, you should be able to just close your eyes and throw strikes."
Redding won his last matchup against Atlanta, starting opposite Glavine on April 13. However, he wasn't very effective, allowing three runs and six hits, including a homer to Jones, while walking three in five innings.
Redding has struggled against Jones, who is 5-for-6 with a homer off him.