This week’s road trip to the west coast didn’t begin well for the Atlanta Braves. While there is no complete crime in dropping two of three games in San Diego, Brian Snitker’s team will have work to do in Los Angeles over the weekend to salvage the journey and things begin on Friday evening against the Dodgers.
Brandon McCarthy takes the ball for the road team and the veteran is coming off a solid, yet unspectacular start in a loss to the Nationals on June 2. In that outing, McCarthy allowed two runs on four hits (with no walks) while striking out seven and, over his last four starts, the right-hander has put together three quality efforts.
Still, this is a challenging spot for McCarthy against his old team, as the Braves famously acquired him from the Dodgers as part of a bizarre and intriguing contract swap. For the season, the 34-year-old has an unsightly 4.83 ERA and, even if you believe he is a better pitcher than that, it will be interesting to see how he handles the return to Los Angeles in this spot.
In opposition, the Dodgers will send a very different pitcher to the mound in the form of Walker Buehler. The 23-year-old rookie has been fantastic to this point, posting a 2.74 ERA over eight starts with more strikeouts (50) than innings pitched (46). It is fair to point out that the big-time prospect hasn’t been quite as dominant in recent outings as he was in the early going but Buehler has the stuff to stifle even a high-end offense and the Braves will have their hands full in this spot.
At this early juncture, the Dodgers are seen as the betting favorites in this game (at least in Las Vegas) and that is often instructive when it comes to setting expectations. Still, it would be nice for the Braves to kick off the weekend on a high note and there is the opportunity to just that on Friday.
Time/Date: Friday, June 8, 10:10 pm ET
Location: Dodger Stadium
TV: FOX Sports South
Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM, 106.7 FM Braves Radio Network