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Series Preview: Braves at Diamondbacks

The Braves travel to Arizona for a three game set

Eliot J. Schechter

After getting swept in a short two-game set by the Mariners and having two off days in four days, the Braves are traveling to Arizona to take on the last place Diamondbacks.

In terms of run differential, only the Phillies have a worse mark in the National League than the Diamondbacks' -50. Despite being away from home, the Braves are definitely the favorite in this series and they should be able to get back on track this weekend.

At the plate:

To make matters worse, last week the Diamondbacks lost their highest WAR player in A.J. Pollock. Arizona still has Paul Goldschmidt though and Chris Owings has been a very nice player for them at shortstop. Aaron Hill and Martin Prado struggling offensively has really hurt their offense, as there just is not much production outside of Goldschmidt, Miguel Montero, and Owings so far this season.

The offense as a whole lacks a lot of punch, with its outfield alignment currently being David Peralta, Ender Inciarte, and Gerardo Parra left to right. Cody Ross plays against lefties, but the Braves will not be starting any lefties this series. Prado has been batting clean up, which in and of itself is an indictment of the team's power struggles.

On the mound:

The Braves will face Brandon McCarthy, Wade Miley, and Chase Anderson will be starting this weekend. They are a bit of a mixed bag of pitchers. McCarthy has gotten terrible results but has good peripherals. Miley has been pretty bad all around, and Anderson has gotten good results but has terrible peripherals. The Braves should be able to tee off against this trio.

In the bullpen:

Addison Reed is the closer and while he has a 3.95 ERA, he has been worth -0.3 WAR due to his home run allowed tendencies. He does have a solid strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 3.22 xFIP, but being as these games will be played in Arizona I like the Braves odds of taking him deep should the Diamondbacks be in a save situation. The set up men are Brad Ziegler and Evan Marshall, with Oliver Perez acting as the primary LOOGY. Expect to see Perez throw against the Heyward/Upton/Freeman combination up top later in games.

On the bench:

Eric Chavez is the big bat on the bench for Arizona and he may see a start or two at third base during the series. He's a solid left-handed bat for the Diamondbacks, with Nick Evans and Ross acting as the primary right-handed bats. Tuffy Gosewich is the backup catcher and will probably be starting on Sunday.

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