If there was any indication Atlanta (23-18) who began a 3 game series with the LA Dodgers (17-23) this weekend has busted it out of its offensive woes, they may be able to withstand competition from the rival Nationals from taking over first place in the NL East for awhile. The Braves played 26 of their last 34 games away from Turner Field before last night and lost 5 of their last 6 until Justin Upton took matters into his own hands. Upton hit his 14th homer of the season, a grand slam while driving in 5 helping the Braves to an 8-5 win over the Dodgers taking game 1 of the series. Upton also leads Atlanta in RBIs with 28, runs scored (32) and hits (41) while batting .285.
The slam gave Atlanta 53 HR collectively which ranks 4th in the majors, and the resurgence doesn't bode well for Dodgers starter Chris Capuano (1-2 6.60) who pitched well last weekend. Capuano allowed just a run on 5 hits in 6 1/3 innings in a 5-3 win over Miami last time out. Considering it's good news since he had a couple of rough outings since being activated from the DL several weeks back due to a calf injury. However he may need an equally convincing follow up performance if the Dodgers have a chance to tie the series tonight. Freddie Freeman also missed significant time earlier due to an oblique injury, however has been effective (.299 2 23) in the heart of the Atlanta lineup. Evan Gattis and Dan Uggla are tied for second with 7 long balls, however not nearly as similar success could be said for Justin's brother BJ who is hitting just .141 with 3 HR on the season. Atlanta did get back Jason Heyward last night for the first time since April 20th after undergoing emergency appendectomy surgery. Heyward wasted no time in returning to form going 2 for 4 with an RBI and 2 runs scored.
The Bravos counter with Kris Medlen (1-5 3.44) who despite the manageable ERA has dropped 4 straight. Medlen was anything but sharp last time out struggling with control problems and velocity. He walked 5 and gave up a season high 3 HR in a 5-1 loss to San Francisco this past Sunday. To say Medlen could use some much needed run support would be a bit of an understatement considering in 2012 he helped his own cause most of the time while going 10-1 with a 1.57 ERA. The Dodgers are batting .261 overall but have wasted numerous opportunities all season long with RISP. Not a good sign from a team that doesn't have much power throughout the lineup as evident by their 28 HR. Adrian Gonzalez leads the club in hitting (.338) and RBI (27), but other than Carl Crawford (.307 5 11) hasn't had much help. Matt Kemp saw his 14 game hitting streak come to an end last night and has just 1 HR despite his average slowly climbing back to .273. Andre Eithier is also off to a slow start though most feel that the latter two will heat up as the season progresses.
Another extremely reasonable price this evening as both teams look to build on promising starts at the plate given game 1's results. We all know that Turner Field isn't exactly the launching pad that favored hitters in the past like Fulton County Stadium, however both teams may be able to pick up where they left off if others can contribute in the heat of hotlanta. Let's look to extend an effective ride which has given us 9 wins in the last 11. Best of luck however you play!