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Atlanta Braves (47-49) at Los Angeles Dodgers (67-31)
Sunday, July 23 - 4:10 PM EST
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
The Atlanta Braves hope left-hander Sean Newcomb will develop into an eventual top-of-the-rotation starter, and the rookie gets a chance to face one of the absolute best in Sunday’s series finale at the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers hand the ball to Clayton Kershaw, who has established himself as the frontrunner for his fourth National League Cy Young Award by leading the league in victories, ERA and innings pitched.
The Dodgers salvaged the third of the four-game series Saturday, using homers from Chase Utley, Corey Seager and Chris Taylor to secure a 6-2 victory. Los Angeles, which won 31-of-35 before dropping the first two games of the series, improved to 49-7 when scoring first. The Braves lost for only the third time in their past 10 road games and are 2-1 on the current 11-game, three-city road trip through Los Angeles, Arizona and Philadelphia. Rookie Johan Camargo continues to impress, going 2-for-4 with a run scored Saturday to raise his average to .336 in his past 41 games.
TV: 4:10 p.m. ET, FSN South (Atlanta), SportsNet Los Angeles
PITCHING MATCHUP: Braves LH Sean Newcomb (1-5, 4.86 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Clayton Kershaw (15-2, 2.07)
The results of Newcomb’s first seven starts have been tied in part of the level of competition as he has posted a 1.48 ERA in three starts against teams under .500, and an 11.37 ERA against teams .500 or better. In three July starts against Houston, Washington and the Chicago Cubs, the 24-year-old is 0-3 with nine walks and three homers allowed in 12 2/3 innings. Newcomb, who MLB.com ranks as Atlanta’s No. 5 prospect and No. 66 overall, gave up five runs in 5 1/3 innings of a loss Tuesday to the Cubs.
Kershaw has not lost since May 1, winning 11 consecutive decisions across 14 starts while holding opponents to a .197 batting average with 122 strikeouts and 20 walks in 98 innings. His past five starts have been phenomenal, going 5-0 record with a 0.50 ERA (two earned allowed in 36 innings) with 51 strikeouts against just six walks. A handful of Braves have hit well off Kershaw, including Brandon Phillips (.321) and Ender Inciarte (.308).
1. Phillips did not play for the second consecutive game Saturday with right hamstring tightness, but is expected to start Sunday.
2. Dodgers 3B Justin Turner, who entered the weekend hitting a major-leading leading .371, did not play due to an upper respiratory issue.
3. Taylor finished 2-for-2 Saturday with a homer and a triple, and is hitting .429 in July.
PREDICTION: Dodgers 5, Braves 1