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Dodgers-Braves Preview

Aug 2, 2009 - 1:24 AM By MIKE LIPKA STATS Writer

Los Angeles (64-39) at Atlanta (52-51), 8:05 p.m. EDT

With Jair Jurrjens taking the mound, the Atlanta Braves have a good chance to win their lone home series in a 17-day span.

That will require a second straight victory over the best team in the majors as the Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers decide their three-game set Sunday night at Turner Field.

These games are Atlanta's only home contests between July 24 and Aug. 9, a stretch that came just as the Braves have won 11 of 14 at home. Jurrjens (9-7, 2.69 ERA) has won all three of his starts at Turner Field in that span, allowing one earned run and six hits in 20 2-3 innings.

Atlanta's latest home loss was a 5-0 defeat in Friday's series opener, but the Braves (53-51) bounced back with a 4-3 victory Saturday afternoon.

With an offense that has been inconsistent for much of the year, Atlanta has relied on strong pitching - its 3.74 ERA is among the lowest in the majors - to stay within striking distance in the NL East and wild-card races. Derek Lowe turned in a quality start Saturday to win his first game against his former team.

Jurrjens has been perhaps the Braves' best pitcher this season, with his ERA leading the team's starters and ranking among the top six in the NL.

The right-hander has been especially hot lately, going 3-0 with a 1.75 ERA in his last four starts overall. He failed to win his fourth straight outing Tuesday against Florida, but still allowed just two runs in six innings of Atlanta's 4-3 loss.

Jurrjens beat the Dodgers twice last year, allowing two runs and eight hits in 13 innings. He'll again face Los Angeles' Chad Billingsley after beating him in Atlanta's 9-3 victory July 8, 2008.

The Dodgers (64-40) aren't feeling much heat with a comfortable lead in the NL West, but Billingsley (10-6, 3.96) is under some pressure after his recent struggles. The right-hander won nine of his first 12 decisions and had a 2.72 ERA on June 14, but since then he's 1-3 with a 6.46 ERA in eight starts.

He allowed one hit through five shutout innings Tuesday against St. Louis, but gave up six runs and couldn't get out of the sixth in a 10-0 loss, walking a season-high six. Still, Dodgers manager Joe Torre said he had "good stuff" and seemed optimistic about Billingsley's progress.

"It got to the point, in a close game, it just looked to me like he was trying to make every pitch perfect," Torre told the Dodgers' official Web site. "That was about as good and loose and free I've seen him in a while."

Besides his loss to Jurrjens, Billingsley also lost to the Braves in his first start against them April 19, 2008. In the two outings, the right-hander walked nine and allowed nine earned runs in 10 1-3 innings.

The newest Brave, Adam LaRoche, has homered twice off Billingsley in four at-bats. LaRoche, traded from Boston to Atlanta on Friday after being shipped from Pittsburgh to the Red Sox nine days earlier, went 2 for 3 with a walk Saturday to begin his second stint with the Braves.

"This turned out great," LaRoche said. "I'm not going to lie and say Boston wasn't fun. I did not see this coming at all. But if I was going to go anywhere from Boston, this is where I would want to be."

The Dodgers' hottest hitter has been Andre Ethier, who is 4 for 9 with two home runs and five RBIs in the series. He's 2 for 3 with three walks in his career against Jurrjens.

These teams will meet four times at Dodger Stadium starting Thursday.






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    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Dodgers 9, Braves 1  FinalAug 4 6:29 AM
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    #1 Cards Fan Added 5 roots

    Dodgers 9, Braves 1  FinalAug 3 6:34 AM


  • ** CONFIRMED **
    NL
    LA DODGERS 9
    ATLANTA 1 FINAL

    Aug 2 11:39 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY ORLANDO HUDSON SCORED MARK LORETTA
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, O HUDSON ON SECOND, 0 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 9
    ATLANTA 1 TOP,9TH
    DUE UP FOR LA DODGERS: J PIERRE (.314, 0 HR, 25 RBI)

    Dodgers 9, Braves 1  Top 9, 0 OutsAug 2 11:18 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MARTIN PRADO SCORED MATT DIAZ
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M PRADO ON FIRST, D ROSS ON SECOND, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 8
    ATLANTA 1 BOTTOM,8TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: C JONES (.287, 0-FOR-3)

    Dodgers 8, Braves 1  Bot 8, 0 OutsAug 2 11:07 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - MID INNING UPDATE
    PLAY: D Ross pinch-hitting for B Logan.
    SITUATION: 0 RUNS IN, M DIAZ ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 8
    ATLANTA 0 BOTTOM,8TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: D ROSS (.281, 6 HR, 15 RBI)

    Dodgers 8, Braves 0  Bot 8, 0 OutsAug 2 10:58 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - PITCHING CHANGE
    ATL: BOONE LOGAN (1-0, 2.00) STARTING THE 8TH
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 5, ATLANTA 0
    DUE UP FOR LADODGERS: S ELBERT (.250, 0 HR, 1 RBI)

    Dodgers 5, Braves 0  Top 8, 0 OutsAug 2 10:55 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MATT KEMP SCORED MANNY RAMIREZ AND ANDRE ETHIER
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, M KEMP ON FIRST, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 8
    ATLANTA 0 TOP,8TH
    DUE UP FOR LA DODGERS: R MARTIN (.264, 2-FOR-4)

    Dodgers 8, Braves 0  Top 8, 0 OutsAug 2 10:52 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY JAMES LONEY SCORED RAFAEL FURCAL
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M RAMIREZ ON SECOND, A ETHIER ON THIRD, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 6
    ATLANTA 0 TOP,8TH
    DUE UP FOR LA DODGERS: M KEMP (.313, 2-FOR-4, HR, 3 RBI)

    Dodgers 6, Braves 0  Top 8, 0 OutsAug 2 10:49 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JAMES LONEY SCORED JASON SCHMIDT
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J LONEY ON SECOND, A ETHIER ON THIRD, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 5
    ATLANTA 0 TOP,6TH
    DUE UP FOR LA DODGERS: M KEMP (.314, 2-FOR-3, HR, 3 RBI)

    Dodgers 5, Braves 0  Top 6, 0 OutsAug 2 10:12 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MARK LORETTA SCORED RUSSELL MARTIN
    SITUATION: 4 RUNS IN, M LORETTA ON FIRST, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 4
    ATLANTA 0 TOP,5TH
    DUE UP FOR LA DODGERS: O HUDSON (.292, 1-FOR-1, BB)

    Dodgers 4, Braves 0  Top 5, 0 OutsAug 2 9:46 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY MATT KEMP (14) TO CENTER WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 5TH OFF JAIR JURRJENS SCORED JAMES LONEY AND MANNY
    RAMIREZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 3, ATLANTA 0
    DUE UP FOR LA DODGERS: R MARTIN (.263, 1-FOR-2)

    Dodgers 3, Braves 0  Top 5, 0 OutsAug 2 9:42 PM