Dodgers vs Braves Pre-Game: Dodgers Expecting a Big Show

The Dodgers dropped a tough one to the Braves last night to go to 5-3 during this 10-game road trip. They scored three runs to back a dominate performance from Chris Capuano, only for the bullpen to lose the lead in the eighth inning and lose 4-3 in extras. The loss also puts the Dodgers back into second place, half a game behind the Giants for first place in the National League West.

Tonight will be a solid match-up of two right-handers in what will be the traditional MLB Civil Rights Game on the MLB Network.

The Braves will have Ben Sheets on the mound tonight, who they picked up before the All-Star break to help out their starting rotation. Before this year, Sheets last appeared in a Major League game in 2010 with the Oakland A’s. He sat out all of last season because of numerous arm injuries that also kept him out for the entire 2009 season.

So far he has been brilliant for the Braves in just six starts, posting a 4-2 record with a 2.13 ERA. However, Sheets did get knocked around in his last time out against the Mets on August 12th. He lost the game going 6.0 innings, allowing eight hits, four runs, and striking out five. Tonight Sheets will face a Dodgers team that he hasn’t had much success against, with a career record of 3-6 and a 3.78 ERA.

The Dodgers offense probably feels the same way, as only Juan Uribe and James Loney have had some success against Sheets. Here’s a look:

H/AB

BA

RBI

Juan Uribe

2-for-4

.500

2

James Loney

1-for-3

.333

The “Big Show” Aaron Harang will be throwing in this one for the Dodgers. Harang has been solid for the Dodgers this season as a middle of the rotation guy. He has an overall record of 8-7 with a 3.76 ERA on the season.

In his last outing against the Pirates on August 13 he came out with the win. Harang went 6.0 innings in that game, allowing five hits, two runs, with four strike outs. Tonight he will be facing a similar problem to Sheets, as Harang has a career record of 1-3 against the Braves with a 4.53 ERA. It won’t get any easier either because the Braves’ offense have had much success against this big right-hander.

The Braves have five different players who have hit home runs against Harang in their career.

H/AB

BA

HR

RBI

Michael Bourn

8-for-24

.333

1

3

Chipper Jones

5-for-11

.455

1

4

Brian McCann

6-for-11

.545

1

4

David Ross

2-for-3

.667

2

4

Dan Uggla

7-for-21

.333

1

4

Los Angeles Dodgers (65-55) at Atlanta Braves (70-49)
Aaron Harang (8-7, 3.76) vs. Ben Sheets (4-2, 2.13)
Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia
4:10 p.m. PST, August 18, 2012
TV: Prime Ticket, MLB Network
Radio: 570 AM (English), 1020 AM (Spanish)
Game-Time Weather: 80 degrees, Sunny

Braves’ Projected Starters
P: Ben Sheets
C: Brian McCann
1B: Freddie Freeman
2B: Dan Uggla
SS: Paul Janish
3B: Chipper Jones
LF: Martin Prado
CF: Michael Bourn
RF: Jason Heyward

Key Bench Players: OF Reed Johnson, UT Eric Hinske

For more on the Braves, check out our pre-series report.

Key to a Dodger Victory:
Crooked Number: The Dodgers offense has been arguably as hot as they’ve been all year during this road trip. They have scored three runs or more in every game resulting in that 5-3 record on the trip. In their last series against the Pirates, they scored 5, 11, 9, and 6 runs in those four games, losing just once. It will be tough to beat the Dodgers if they continue to put up crooked numbers, especially if their pitchers have outings like Capuano’s last night.

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