Braves Vs Dodgers Late Game Preview

Atlanta currently sits 2 ½ games up in the NL East after completing a sweep of the Phillies, with a 2-1 victory on Wednesday.  In a span of 14 games, the Braves have climbed from last place in the division and 6 ½ games back, to its current position.  The Braves own a Major League-best 19-6 record at home this season, but now head west with its current 12-16 mark away from Turner Field (-490).  The team leads the majors with 237 walks and its .348 on-base percentage leads the National League.  Rookie OF Jason Heyward leads the team with 10 homers and is batting .287 with a .412 on-base percentage.  “The kid never ceases to amaze you,” manager Bobby Cox said.

Braves SP Kris Medlen gets the call for the series opener, as he comes in with a 1-0 record and 3.22 ERA in four starts since joining the rotation.  The right-hander will be making his first start against the Blue Crew, but went 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA in four relief appearances against them last season.  Surprisingly enough, Medlen has walked six batters in his last 18 innings of work, after issuing just three free passes in his first 25 frames this season.  He has an even 3-3 record and 4.22 ERA in 24 career outings (five starts) on the road.

Los Angeles enters the series off its fourth series sweep of the season, defeating Arizona 1-0 at Dodger Stadium.  The Dodgers are currently on a season-long 13-game homestand (2-0), as the team looks to improve upon its 18-8 home mark (+540).  Manager Joe Torre seemingly prepared his team for this important four-game stretch, giving half of the regular starting lineup the day off on Wednesday.  This tactic may improve the team’s 13-16 losing record outside of the division, as they’ve dominated the NL West to a tune of 18-5.

Dodgers SP Hiroki Kuroda is 5-3 with a 3.55 ERA in 10 starts this season.  The right-hander brings an even 1-1 mark and 1.20 ERA in two career starts against the Braves, with both coming in 2008.  One of those starts was a one-hit shutout at Dodger Stadium, as he took a perfect game into the eighth inning of that contest.  Kuroda has been solid in five home starts thus far in 2010, posting a 2-1 record and 3.62 ERA.  He has managed to walk just eight batters in 32.1 innings on his home turf, but has also allowed 37 hits over that span.

All signs certainly point to the Dodgers getting the best of the Braves in the opening game of this series.  Bettors will pay special attention to Atlanta’s 0-3 mark as a road underdog of +100 to +125 (-300).  Los Angeles tends to flourish when placed as a home favorite of -125 to -150, producing a dominating 7-1 mark in 2010 (+550).

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