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News » Braves-Diamondbacks Preview 2008-08-08

Braves-Diamondbacks Preview 2008-08-08

Braves-Diamondbacks Preview 2008-08-08
It's been a frustrating season for the Atlanta Braves, who have been decimated by injuries and are on pace for their worst finish in nearly two decades. The emergence of Jorge Campillo has been one of the few bright spots.

Campillo looks to win his fourth straight decision Friday night when the Braves continue their four-game road series against the NL West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks, who are in danger of suffering their first three-game losing streak in six weeks.

Atlanta (53-62) is on pace to finish this season with its worst record since it went 65-97 in 1990, the same season current manager Bobby Cox took over the underperforming club in June.

Some of this year's struggles can be blamed on injuries, as three of Atlanta's top pitchers are on the disabled list. Right-handed starters John Smoltz and Tim Hudson are likely lost for the season while recovering from shoulder surgery and elbow surgery, respectively, and left-hander Tom Glavine hasn't pitched since June 10 because of an elbow injury.

In their absence, Campillo (6-4, 2.58 ERA) has become the Braves' most reliable starter. The right-hander, who turns 30 on Sunday but still has rookie status, is 6-4 with a 2.92 ERA since joining the starting rotation in late May, including 3-0 with a 1.26 ERA in his last five starts.

"I came here for an opportunity and I want to stay here in the starting rotation," Campillo said after holding Milwaukee to six hits in seven innings of a 5-0 victory Sunday. "I don't care if it's No. 1 or No. 2 or No. 5."

Based on Cox's comments after Sunday's game, Campillo doesn't have to worry about losing his spot in the rotation anytime soon.

"Campillo, again, pitched an unbelievable ballgame," Cox told the Braves' official Web site. "I can't say enough about him. He's been just outstanding. If we could find a guy like that every year, we'd be doing something. He's been just dynamic, actually. He can carve up a hitter as good as anybody."

That doesn't bode well for the Diamondbacks (59-56), who rallied for four runs in the eighth inning Thursday night but fell short in a 6-4 loss to the Braves - their second consecutive defeat. Arizona's NL West lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers dropped to 1 1/2 games.

"I felt like our at-bats were even better early on today," said Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin, whose team hasn't lost three straight games since June 24-27. "We hit some line drives at some infielders throughout the game."

The Diamondbacks hope to bounce back Friday with Doug Davis (4-6, 4.28) on the mound. After flirting with a perfect game in his previous start, the left-hander was tagged for five runs in 1 2-3 innings of a 9-3 loss to the Dodgers on Sunday.

Davis is 1-0 with a 2.42 ERA in four career starts against the Braves, whose lineup could get a boost if Chipper Jones returns from the disabled list.

Jones, leading the majors with a .369 batting average, said Thursday he doesn't have any more pain in the left hamstring that has sidelined him since July 23, but Cox said he wasn't sure if he'd start his All-Star third baseman immediately.

"We'll see what happens," Cox said. "I don't know if he'll be able to play right away. He might have to pinch-hit for a few games."

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: August 8, 2008

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