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Atlanta Braves (47-49) at Arizona Diamondbacks (56-41)
Monday, July 24 - 9:40 PM EST
Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona
The Atlanta Braves got a break Sunday when Clayton Kershaw left his scheduled start after just two innings, but there likely will not be that type of reprieve when they open a three-game series Monday at the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Braves face Zack Greinke, one of the top hurlers in the National League, eight days after Atlanta completed a three-game home sweep of the Diamondbacks - outscoring Arizona 19-9 in the three victories.
Atlanta won the first two of a four-game weekend series at Los Angeles, but mustered just six runs on 11 hits in dropping the final two contests. Matt Adams tied Sunday’s contest with a two-out, three-run homer in the ninth inning, giving him 30 extra-base hits among his 56 since joining the Braves on May 21. The Diamondbacks lost a weekend home series to Washington, dropping the final two games to fall to 3-8 in their past 11 games. Recently-acquired outfielder J.D. Martinez, who sat out after being hit on the hand with a pitch in his first game with the club Wednesday, drew a pinch-hit walk Sunday and is expected to return to the starting lineup at some point during the series against Atlanta.
TV: 9:40 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Atlanta), FSN Arizona
PITCHING MATCHUP: Braves RH R.A. Dickey (6-6, 4.14 ERA) vs. Diamondbacks RH Zack Greinke (11-4, 2.97)
The 42-year-old Dickey pitched better than his line indicates in a loss Wednesday to the Chicago Cubs, giving up four runs in seven innings to snap a streak of five starts with one run or fewer surrendered. He has provided veteran stability to Atlanta’s rotation and pitched better as the season progressed, posting a 2.94 ERA with 46 strikeouts against 10 walks in his past eight starts. Dickey got a no-decision against the Diamondbacks on July 14 in Atlanta, holding Arizona to one run on eight hits in six innings with two walks and four strikeouts.
Greinke has rebounded from a somewhat-rough first season in Arizona, clinching his 10th consecutive season of double-digit wins while significantly reducing his ERA from the 4.37 he posted last season. The 33-year-old allowed more than three earned runs once in eight starts since June 1, going 5-1 with 50 strikeouts, 12 walks and a .234 opponents’ batting average over 49 innings. Greinke, who did not face the Braves in Atlanta earlier this month, is 2-1 in seven career starts against the Braves with 53 strikeouts in 44 innings.
1. Braves 2B Brandon Phillips extended his hitting streak to seven games with a RBI double Sunday, but clearly was hampered by a right hamstring strain that kept him on the bench for the previous two days.
2. Atlanta RF Nick Markakis begins the series 10 hits shy of 2,000 for his career.
3. Arizona owns a 34-17 home record after losing the past two games at home to Washington.
PREDICTION: Diamondbacks 4, Braves 2