Since starting June 5-0, the Braves are 8-12 but can clinch a winning month with a series win at home against the NL West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks. Some familiar faces will be coming back to Atlanta, most notably Martin Prado who still hasn't quite gelled with his new team. Prado is hitting just .241 in 75 games, filling in at third base while Eric Chavez has been sidelined for all of June with an oblique injury. I don't doubt the Atlanta crowd will give Prado a warm reception upon introduction.
Also returning against his former team is Randall Delgado. Like Prado, the 23-year-old right-hander has had a rough time adjusting to his new team. At Reno, he's posted a 5.91 ERA in 64 innings and has given up eight runs in 14 innings with the big club. While in the minors with the Braves, Delgado had a promising future and was on his way to forming a dynamic duo with Julio Teheran in the Braves rotation. Now, they'll be in different dugouts and opposing each other in the opening game of this three-game series.
Still mashing the ball on offense is Paul Goldschmidt. The big first baseman has rapped out 14 hits over his last nine games, four of the hits being home runs. He's hitting .312 and putting up All-Star caliber numbers with 19 homers and a league-leading 67 RBI. He's also in the top five in the NL in runs scored, slugging, and OPS. Goldschmidt was a beast against Atlanta back in May with six hits - among them four doubles and a homer - in a three-game series. He and Gerardo Parra have carried the offense for the most part as they are the top two on the team in hits; Parra leads the team with 95 of them, Goldschmidt with 91.
Arizona has waited patiently this year for Miguel Montero to start producing and he may finally be doing so. Montero was hitting .199 as June started, but has hit .284 in June with 11 walks and nine RBI and brings a modest four-game hitting streak into this series.
Meanwhile, Arizona fans can't wait for J.J. Putz to come off the DL because Heath Bell continues to struggle as the closer. Bell has already walked more batters in June (six) than he has in his first 22 games of the season (four); he's allowed 12 hits in nine June innings and even gave up a home run in five straight appearances. Looking at that, it's amazing he has any saves at all this month, let alone five.
Joining Bell in the bullpen is former Braves minor leaguer Zeke Spruill, who made his major-league debut on June 21.
The Braves will retire the number 10 of Chipper Jones in a pre-game ceremony before the first game.
Friday, June 28, 7:30 p.m. ET
#49 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Jan 27, 1991
|2013 - Julio Teheran||5-4||3.32||1.21||71||16|
#48 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks
Feb 09, 1990
|2013 - Randall Delgado||0-1||4.50||1.36||13||1|
Saturday, June 29, 4:05 p.m. ET
#15 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Jul 14, 1975
|2013 - Tim Hudson||4-7||4.10||1.20||71||26|
#31 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks
Dec 19, 1984
|2013 - Ian Kennedy||3-4||5.21||1.31||73||29|
Sunday, June 30, 1:35 p.m. ET
#28 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Jun 25, 1982
|2013 - Paul Maholm||8-6||3.75||1.27||72||27|
#35 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks
Mar 01, 1988
|2013 - Trevor Cahill||3-9||4.29||1.35||66||35|