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The Atlanta Braves hope starting pitcher Ben Sheets can get back on track and regain his status as the staff ace with a good performance against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday. The two National League playoff contenders will meet at Turner Field at 7:10 p.m. (ET). Make sure to check the Don Best MLB odds screen for the latest baseball lines.
Sheets (4-2, 2.13 ERA) has gone 1-2 in his last three starts following a 3-0 start with the Braves, and Atlanta fans have to be a bit concerned about him leading their team down the stretch considering his past injury history. He is coming off his worst start of the year last Sunday on the road against the New York Mets, surrendering five runs (four earned) and eight hits in six innings with one walk and five strikeouts. Sheets has also struggled during his career against the Dodgers, going 3-6 in 10 starts with a 3.78 ERA.
LA will counter with big righty Aaron Harang (8-7, 3.76), who has performed much better away from home this season. He is 6-3 in 13 road starts with a solid 3.68 ERA and ended a personal two-game skid with a victory at Pittsburgh on Monday. Harang allowed two runs and five hits to the Pirates in six innings of work with three walks and four strikeouts. He had given up 10 runs and 15 hits in 11 innings over his previous two starts, losing both at home.
Both teams find themselves in the thick of the NL playoff race heading into the weekend, as the Dodgers are fighting with the San Francisco Giants for the NL West division title, and the Braves are among the leaders for one of the two Wild Card spots with roughly one-quarter of the season to go.
The road team had won four of the previous six meetings heading into Friday’s series opener, with each team taking two of three. Atlanta had won three of four at home prior to Friday while Los Angeles was 4-1 in its past five and will be playing the ninth game of a 10-game road trip. The Dodgers had seen their previous four games all go ‘over’ the total going into the series while the ‘under’ had cashed in four straight for the Braves. The winner had scored four runs or less in four of the past five meetings.
The weather in Atlanta on Saturday is expected to be warm with a high temperature of 85 degrees under partly cloudy skies and a low of 66.
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