Series preview: Braves at Tigers
When (TV): 7:05 p.m. Friday (FSSO), 1:05 p.m. Saturday (Fox), 8:05 p.m. Sunday (ESPN).
Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5
Probable starting pitchers:
Friday: Braves LH Paul Maholm (3-1, 1.03 ERA) vs. RH Anibal Sanchez (2-1, 1.75)
Saturday: Braves RH Kris Medlen (1-2, 2.16) vs. RH Rick Porcello (0-2, 11.08)
Sunday: Braves LH Mike Minor (3-1, 1.80) vs. RH Doug Fister (3-0 2.00)
About the Braves:
Batting: Chris Johnson leads the majors with a .397 averages, while Braves Jason Heyward (.121) and B.J. Upton (.150) had the two lowest averages among NL qualifiers before Thursday…. Just Upton leads the majors with 11 homers, including seven in two-strike counts. He also led the majors in OPS (1.200) before Thursday…. Evan Gattis is 4-for-27 (.148) in his past eight games with two doubles, two homers, one walk and eight strikeouts.
Pitching: Maholm went 3-0 with no runs allowed in his first three starts before giving up three in six innings of a loss Saturday at Pittsburgh. He’s 0-1 with a 2.60 ERA in three starts against the Tigers…. Medlen gave up one run and six hits in 6-2/3 innings of a win in his only start against the Tigers, and Minor hasn’t faced them…. Closer Craig Kimbrel gave up two runs in the ninth inning Wednesday at Colorado for his first blown save this season and first multi-run inning since 2011. Last season he became the first in the modern era to pitch in at least 60 games (63) without giving up more than one run.
Miscellaneous: Gerald Laird played three of the past four seasons with Detroit and has a .256 average with 28 extra-base hits (three homers) in 155 games at Comerica Park…. B.J. Upton is 19-for-65 (.292) with five doubles and two homers in 19 games at Comerica, and Justin Upton is 9-for-25 with no extra-base hits in six games at the ballpark…. Dan Uggla is 4-for-10 with two homers against Sanchez, his former Marlins teammate. Justin Upton is 4-for-13 with a homer against Sanchez, and Jordan Schafer is 1-for-12 with eight strikeouts against the right-hander.
About the Tigers:
Batting: Teammates Miguel Cabrera and Torii Hunter were each 29-for-79 (.367) and tied for the AL batting lead before Thursday’s series finale against Kansas City. Cabrera was 14-for-33 (.424) with a homer and eight RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak before Thursday…. Prince Fielder has hit just .238 in 44 games (160 at-bats) against the Braves, although 12 of his 38 hits against them have been home runs. Fielder is 7-for-51 (.137) with no homers against Maholm, his former NL Central foe when Fielder was with Milwaukee and Maholm with Pittsburgh.
Pitching: Sanchez has allowed no homers and two runs or fewer in all four starts. He gave up just 10 hits in 19 innings over his first three starts before allowing 11 hits and three runs (two earned) in 6-2/3 innings of a loss at Anaheim on Friday. Against the Braves, the ex-Marlin is 4-11 with a 5.42 ERA in 17 starts, three more losses than he has against any other team and his highest ERA against any team he’s faced more than twice. He’s 0-4 with a 9.33 ERA in four starts against them during the past two seasons….Neither Porcello nor Fister has faced the Braves outside of spring training,
Miscellaneous: After hitting .293 with a 3.35 ERA during a 9-5 start, the Tigers were 1-4 with a .216 average, 5.00 ERA, one homer and 11 runs in five games before Thursday’s game vs. Kansas City. Their past four losses had come on the road and they were 5-2 with a majors-leading .340 average and .866 OPS at home before Thursday…. Cabrera, a former Marlin, has a .319 average with 41 extra-base hits (15 homers) and a .388 OBP in 88 games against the Braves.