The Dodgers will start a series with the Atlanta Braves Friday night, and they will be facing a familiar opponent in Brandon McCarthy. McCarthy spent two seasons with the Dodgers.
The last time Brandon McCarthy toed the Dodger Stadium rubber, it was an outing we would all like to forget. Game two of last year’s World Series, Brandon McCarthy pitched and gave up a home run to George Sprinter en route to one of the more heartbreaking losses of the World Series. This past offseason McCarthy was dealt to the Atlanta Braves along with Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Kazmir, and Charlie Culberson in a salary swap trade that brought Matt Kemp back to Los Angeles.
Tonight the Dodgers will face McCarthy and look to beat up on their former teammate. Out of the current healthy Dodgers, only Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Yasmani Grandal, and Logan Forsythe have ever had game at-bats against McCarthy. Of those four, Puig is the only one who has homered off McCarthy, and Matt Kemp has the best batting average against McCarthy with a .438 batting average.
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Brandon McCarthy had a strong opening month of the season going 3-0 with a 3.04 ERA, but he has fallen on some rough times since. Brandon went 1-2 with a 7.46 ERA and allowed a .373 batting average in May. In his last start, McCarthy pitched a solid game going six innings against the Nationals while striking out seven batters and allowing two runs. He will face a resurgent Dodgers offense that had no problems putting up runs in Pittsburgh.
The Dodgers will counter by sending their budding young ace Walker Buehler to the mound who is looking to rebound after a rough start in Coors Field. Buehler pitched five innings and allowed four runs in a start that could’ve been much worse if he didn’t pitch around trouble just about every inning. Buehler only struck out two batters in his last start so he will look to have his strikeout pitches working, now that he is back at sea level.
Buehler has given the Dodgers everything they could want and more this season posting a 3-1 record to go along with a stellar 2.74 ERA. Tonight the Dodgers simply want Walker to pitch deep into the game after getting a combined 1 2/3 innings from their starting pitchers the past two games. Buehler needs to go a minimum of six innings tonight to finally give the bullpen some relief of their own.
Tonight is the beginning of a nice eight-game homestand for the Dodgers as they currently sit one and a half games back of first place. The Braves have had an infusion of young talent this season although they will be without prized prospect Ronald Acuna this weekend. The Dodgers are unbeaten in their past six series and will look to keep up their winning ways against an old friend tonight.