The Atlanta Braves are struggling.
That is easy to discern on the heels of a stretch when the team has lost seven of eight games, but on the offensive side of things, the returns have been even uglier than you may think. The Braves have scored three runs or fewer in each of the past seven (!) games, and with six losses in that time, it is easy to find the culprit. On cue, the schedule doesn't get any easier for Fredi Gonzalez's club, as the NL West-leading Dodgers arrive in Atlanta for a three-game set beginning on Monday.
It isn't all bad as the Dodgers arrive, though, with Los Angeles mercifully keeping both Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke away from Turner Field. That provides some "winnable" match-ups against the likes of Brett Anderson and Mike Bolsinger, as well as the return of former Braves right-hander Brandon Beachy to Turner Field.
Beachy gets the ball against Matt Wisler in the opener, and it is safe to assume there will be some fans in the crowd rooting for him to succeed. The right-hander has encountered significant arm trouble that forced him out of Atlanta, but the early returns have been solid in Los Angeles, and the talent remains.
From there, the Braves will send both Alex Wood and Julio Teheran to the bump to close the series. That theoretically provides a pitching advantage for Atlanta given the absence of Kershaw and Greinke, but it remains to be seen (especially in the case of Teheran) whether the home team can take full advantage.
At 43-49, any faint hope of a playoff run is beginning to slip away, and the Braves can dig a brutal hole without a strong bounce-back performance this week against the Dodgers. Stay tuned throughout the series for coverage of all the action.
Monday, July 20, 7:10 p.m. ET
Brandon Beachy (LAD)
1 starts, 0-1 W-L, 6.75 ERA, 4.31 FIP, 6.8 BB/9, 4.5 K/9, 0.0 HR/9
Matt Wisler (ATL)
5 starts, 3-1 W-L, 3.10 ERA, 3.99 FIP, 2.8 BB/9, 6.5 K/9, 0.9 HR/9
Tuesday, July 21, 7:10 p.m. ET
Brett Anderson (LAD)
18 starts, 5-5 W-L, 3.17 ERA, 3.55 FIP, 2.3 BB/9, 6.4 K/9, 0.8 HR/9
Alex Wood (ATL)
18 starts, 6-6 W-L, 3.76 ERA, 3.19 FIP, 2.6 BB/9, 6.8 K/9, 0.5 HR/9
Wednesday, July 22, 12:10 p.m. ET
Mike Bolsinger (LAD)
14 starts, 4-3 W-L, 3.04 ERA, 2.81 FIP, 3.2 BB/9, 8.3 K/9, 0.4 HR/9
Julio Teheran (ATL)
19 starts, 6-4 W-L, 4.53 ERA, 4.56 FIP, 3.3 BB/9, 7.2 K/9, 1.3 HR/9