National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, June 27th
(All times Eastern)
Arizona Diamondbacks (37-36) at Atlanta Braves (39-34), 7:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Arizona - Trevor Cahill (6-5, 3.47)
Atlanta - Tommy Hanson (8-4, 3.54)
(Sports Network) - Jason Heyward is not in this alone even though it may seem
like it. The young Atlanta Braves slugger hopes to continue his latest surge
tonight in the middle installment of a three-game series versus the Arizona
Diamondbacks at Turner Field.
Heyward, the reigning National League Player of the Week, was 2-for-4 with an
RBI and a run scored in Tuesday's series-opening 8-1 win for the Braves. He
has hit safely in 11 straight and 19 of his last 23 games, and is 29-for-73
this month with nine multi-hit efforts. Heyward, who moved up to second in the
batting order on Tuesday, has 16 runs and 13 RBI in June.
"I just wanted to put our best three hitters right now together, guys who are
getting on base and swinging the bat," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said on
the club's official website. "I think we've scored enough runs to win games.
That hasn't been an issue. But [Heyward] sure has played well the last seven
or eight days."
Michael Bourn homered and scored twice, Freddie Freeman had three hits,
two runs scored and two RBI and Chipper Jones contributed three hits for
Atlanta, which won for the fifth time in 14 tries and is 3 1/2 games behind
Washington for the NL East lead. The Braves kicked off a 10-game homestand
last night and got another strong start from veteran right-hander Tim Hudson.
Hudson held the D-backs to a run in eight innings and struck out seven.
"It's a good way to get the homestand started," Hudson said. "We haven't
played particularly well at home this year. Hopefully we finish the first half
on a good note."
The Braves will also host the Nationals and Cubs, and are scheduled to send
Tommy Hanson to the mound Wednesday. Hanson is 3-0 in his past four starts and
barely got the win in last Wednesday's 10-5 victory at Yankee Stadium, where
he was charged with four runs and five hits in five innings. He is now 8-4 in
15 starts this season to go along with a 3.54 earned run average.
Hanson, who is 5-1 in his last six decisions, defeated Arizona back on April
21 with seven innings of two-run ball and seven K's in a 3-2 triumph. The
righty is 2-1 with a 3.91 ERA in four career starts against the Diamondbacks.
Arizona had a four-game winning streak come to an end on Tuesday and received
a bit of a scare when starting pitcher Daniel Hudson left after just 1 2/3
innings with a sore elbow. The damage was already done at that time for
Hudson, who allowed five runs on seven hits and is slated to undergo an MRI.
"I've always had soreness in there, but it had gotten to the point where it
was affecting how I was pitching out there, so I figured I had to take myself
out of the game," Hudson said.
Right-hander Josh Collmenter took over for Hudson and pitched four scoreless
innings of relief. Jason Kubel homered, while Aaron Hill and Miguel Montero
finished with two hits apiece for the Diamondbacks, who are still 12-6 in
their last 18 contests and sit five games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers for
the NL West lead. San Francisco is only one game off the pace.
The Diamondbacks have homered in a season-high seven straight games (15
total). They had an eight-game run from Aug. 7-14, 2011.
D-backs center fielder Chris Young was out of the starting lineup for a second
straight game and is just 4-for-44 since June 10. Young is batting .220 with
five homers and 16 RBI this season.
"He's been grinding pretty hard, he's been searching for it," Arizona manager
Kirk Gibson told the ballclub's website. "I'm just kind of taking the
initiative to slow him down a little bit."
Arizona shortstop Stephen Drew is expected to come off the 15-day disabled
list in time to start Wednesday's game. Drew has been sidelined since last
July with a broken right ankle suffered in a collision at home plate, and
played in 11 minor league games.
Trevor Cahill draws the start for Gibson's club tonight and he has won four
straight trips to the mound. He did allow six runs and nine hits in six
innings of a 14-10 victory versus Seattle last Wednesday, but pushed his mark
to 6-5 in 14 starts with a 3.47 ERA.
Cahill, a right-hander, lost his first career appearance against the Braves on
April 20, when he was reached for seven runs -- four earned -- over 5 2/3
innings of a 9-1 loss.
Atlanta won three of four meetings with Arizona from April 19-22 in the desert
and has prevailed in eight of the past 11 matchups between the clubs. The
Braves have won five in a row as the host in this series.
06/27 10:32:38 ET