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News » Diamondbacks-Braves Preview 2009-05-14


Diamondbacks-Braves Preview 2009-05-14


Diamondbacks-Braves Preview 2009-05-14
Back at Turner Field following a successful road trip, the Atlanta Braves look to continue that resurgence where they've struggled this season.

Javier Vazquez and his team's lineup hope to avoid another poor effort at Turner Field when Atlanta opens a 10-game homestand Thursday night in a matchup with the slumping Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Braves (17-17) closed their 6-2 trip Wednesday with an 8-7 win over the New York Mets on Martin Prado's 12th-inning homer.

"I want to have the same intensity that we've had for the last eight days when we go back home," Chipper Jones told the Braves' official Web site. "Up until this point, it's been kind of a different team that has played at home. We've been kind of relaxed and had the kind of sit-back-and-wait mentality."

Jones reached base in 15 of his 27 plate appearances on the road trip, during which Atlanta hit .285 with seven homers while averaging 5.9 runs.

The Braves have scored 3.1 per game in their last 11 at home, losing nine, while batting .236 with three home runs. Their 5-9 home record is the worst in the majors and with a loss Thursday, they'd match their longest home losing streak from all of last season at five games.

Vazquez (3-3, 3.88 ERA) has lost all three of his starts at Turner Field, posting a 6.10 ERA. In his last start, however, the veteran right-hander struck out seven, walked none and allowed two runs in a 6-2 win at Philadelphia on Saturday.

Vazquez has pitched at least six innings in all seven of his starts this season and has 57 strikeouts to just 11 walks.

"He's really pitched well all year," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "He's been in every game he's started."

Vazquez last faced Arizona in 2003 as a member of the Montreal Expos. He is 5-3 with a 4.04 ERA in 12 career starts against the Diamondbacks.

This Arizona team is last in the majors with a .232 batting average and has scored more than five runs only once in its last 14 games.

The Diamondbacks (13-22) open a 10-game road trip with nine losses in its last 11 games overall. A 10-3 defeat to Cincinnati on Wednesday was their third straight loss and capped a 1-5 homestand which began with manager A.J. Hinch taking over for the fired Bob Melvin.

"It's disappointing obviously to have a homestand like this," said Hinch, "certainly nothing that we're happy about or proud of. With an off day, hopefully we can catch a little momentum going on the road."

The Diamondbacks have won eight of their last 11 games in Atlanta.

Left-hander Doug Davis (2-5, 3.25) looks to avoid losing a third straight start.

In Saturday's 2-1 loss to Washington, Davis yielded one run and four hits in six innings. The southpaw has one of the NL's lowest run support averages at 3.05.

"I'm not the only one here," Davis said. "There are 24 other guys in here that are frustrated at the same time, but tomorrow's a new day. You've got to go back out there tomorrow and not think about what happened today."

Davis is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in five lifetime starts against Atlanta.

Arizona right fielder Justin Upton is hitting .344 with seven home runs in his last 27 games, but he has one hit in 18 career at-bats versus the Braves.

Jones, coming off his second straight multihit game, batted .444 (8 for 18) in six games against Arizona in 2008.

Garret Anderson continues to make progress for the Braves after a stint on the disabled list with a strained left quadriceps, batting .350 (7 for 20) in his last five games. However, he's 2 for 13 (.154) without an RBI in five home games.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 14, 2009

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