About the last thing a lineup that's struggling to score runs wants to see is a 10-game road trip through pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium, AT&T Park and Petco Park. But that's exactly where the Atlanta Braves find themselves as they continue their long swing through California with Tuesday's matchup in Los Angeles.
The Braves and Dodgers get underway at 7:10 p.m. (PT) with the second of a four-game series. Rookie right-hander Brandon Beachy (1-2, 5.19) is scheduled to start for Atlanta opposite LA righty Hiroki Kuroda (2-1, 3.48).
Each club entered Monday's Game 1 with identical 7-9 records that placed them fourth in their five-team divisions. The Braves were down over four units against the MLB money line and sent Tim Hudson to the mound at Chavez Ravine in the opener. Los Angeles, down 2.6 units, countered with lefty Ted Lilly.
Hudson and the Braves were 130 road chalk with seven runs for the total.
The Braves finished up a disappointing 4-5 homestand with Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Mets. With the exception of an 11-run outburst during the first series of the campaign, Atlanta has scuffled at the plate, its 3.31 runs per game 15th in the National League. Dan Uggla (.574 OPS) and Nate McLouth (.550 OPS) continue to be the primary rally killers in the order.
The good news is the Braves are playing the only team in the Senior Circuit scoring fewer runs than them with Los Angeles plating just 3.25 per contest.
Beachy hits the mound Tuesday off the worst start of his short career. The undrafted right-hander out of Kokomo, Indiana was charged with five runs, all earned, in 5 1/3 innings last Thursday in the Braves' 6-5 loss at home to the Marlins. Following a brilliant season debut at Milwaukee, Beachy has now surrendered nine earned runs in two starts covering 11 1/3 frames since.
He's never faced any of the hitters on the LA roster, so perhaps unfamiliarity will help breed success for the 24-year-old.
Kuroda is also coming off his worst start of the season, five innings of work last Thursday versus St. Louis with the Cardinals scoring six times on 10 hits, five of the runs earned. The Dodgers dropped that home matchup to St. Louis, 9-5.
The fourth-year pro out of Japan has made four career starts versus the Braves with the Dodgers 1-3 in those games despite Kuroda pitching well. The right-hander owns a 1.92 ERA in 28 innings against Atlanta, his lone win a complete-game, one-hit shutout at home in July 2008.
Atlanta was 5-3 facing LA last season and is 5-3 in its last eight at Dodger Stadium before Monday. The clubs split the four meetings at Chavez Ravine in 2010, the 'over' cashing three of the contests.
Los Angeles sent lefty reliever Hong-Chih Kuo to the disabled list this last weekend with back pain and will also be without shortstop Rafael Furcal who continues to recover from a broken thumb. Atlanta lost reliever Peter Moylan over the weekend due to a strained back. He's lost for the remainder of the month.
The series continues Wednesday with a battle of veteran pitchers. Derek Lowe will start for the Braves on short rest after pitching and winning the first game of last Saturday's twinbill in Atlanta, a doubleheader made necessary by the previous night's rainout. Jon Garland is slated to take the hill for Los Angeles.
NOTE: Win-loss records shown for starting pitchers are their team's record in their starts unless otherwise noted.