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Braves head to the Motor City for a quick three-game series against the Tigers

Atlanta hits the road for three games against the struggling Tigers

Arizona Diamondbacks v Detroit Tigers Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves saw their seven-game winning streak come to an end on Sunday with a 6-2 loss to the Washington Nationals. That wrapped up a 5-1 homestand which featured a three-game sweep of the New York Mets. The Braves are tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the best record in the National League at 40-25. They currently hold a 3.5 game lead over the Miami Marlins in the NL East. Atlanta will make the quick trip to Detroit before returning home for a four-game series against the Colorado Rockies.

The Tigers come in reeling, having lost nine in a row to fall to 26-37 for the season. They were three outs a way from snapping the streak on Sunday before Arizona rallied for four runs in the ninth, which sent them to a 7-5 loss. The Tigers are dealing with major injuries to their pitching staff, including top starter Eduardo Rodriguez. On the offensive side, they are currently without outfielders Akil Baddoo, Riley Greene and Matt Vierling. Detroit entered play Sunday dead last in the majors in runs scored. Their pitching staff ranks in the lower third in ERA and fWAR, and they’re ahead of only the Rockies in position player fWAR.

Detroit has just four hitters with at least 50 plate appearances that has a wRC+ above league average. Greene leads the team with a 128 wRC+, but is out with a stress reaction in his fibula. Former No. 1 overall pick Spencer Torkelson continues to struggle at the major league level hitting .225/.309/.352 with five home runs and an 87 wRC+. Pretty much the nicest thing you can say about the currently-healthy Tigers as a team is that they play decent defense, and that they’ve gotten a nice two months from journeyman Zach McKinstry.

Monday, June 12, 6:40 p.m. ET (Bally Sports South)

Charlie Morton (12 GS, 69.1 IP, 25.1 K%, 9.8 BB%, 47.7 GB%, 3.89 ERA, 3.98 FIP)

Charlie Morton will make his 13th start of the season for the Braves in Monday’s opener. He will be looking to bounce back after a shaky outing last time out. Morton allowed four hits, four walks and four runs over 4 2/3 innings against the Mets in his last start. It was the first time all season that he has failed to make it through at least five innings. Morton is in need of a good outing after allowing seven runs over his last 11 2/3 innings to start June.


The Tigers haven’t announced their starter for Monday’s game, but’s Jason Beck reports that it will be a bullpen game.

Tuesday, June 13, 6:40 p.m. ET (Bally Sports South)

Spencer Strider (13 GS, 73.2 IP, 40.3 K%, 9.3 BB%, 32.4 GB%, 3.79 ERA, 2.84 FIP)

Another Braves pitcher who will be looking for a bounce back performance is Spencer Strider on Tuesday. Strider lasted just four innings and was knocked around for eight hits and eight runs in his last outing against the Mets. Strider still managed to strike out eight in those four innings and has at least seven punchouts in all 13 of his starts this season.

Reese Olson (2 G, 1 GS, 10.0 IP, 23.7 K%, 5.3 BB%, 44.4 GB%, 2.70 ERA, 2.07 FIP)

Rookie Reese Olson will make his second start of the season in Tuesday’s matchup. Olson was Detroit’s 11th-best prospect coming into the season per Baseball America and features a four-pitch mix, highlighted by an above-average changeup. The biggest question for him has been his command, but he has done a pretty good job over his first two outings allowing three runs over 10 innings to go along with nine strikeouts and two walks.

Wednesday, June 14, 1:10 p.m. ET (Bally Sports South)

AJ Smith-Shawver (2 G, 1 GS, 7.2 IP, 17.9 K%, 10.7 BB%, 45.0 GB%, 0.00 ERA, 3.14 FIP)

AJ Smith-Shawver will stick in the rotation and start Wednesday’s series finale. Smith-Shawver made his major league debut on June 4 out of the bullpen allowing just a walk over 2 1/3 scoreless innings against the Diamondbacks. He made his first career start Friday against the Nationals and allowed three hits and two unearned runs over 5 1/3 innings.

Michael Lorenzen (10 GS, 60.0 IP, 18.6 K%, 5.5 BB%, 43.4 GB%, 3.75 ERA, 4.02 FIP)

Veteran right-hander Michael Lorenzen will get the start for the Tigers Wednesday. Lorenzen has had an up-and-down season thus far, but comes in with pretty good numbers. He will be looking to bounce back after a rough start last time out where he allowed seven hits and six runs over 6 2/3 innings against the Diamondbacks.

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