The Atlanta Braves will get their ace back after some extra rest when they host the Baltimore Orioles in the second test of a three- game interleague series at Turner Field.
Brandon Beachy, the majors' ERA leader, will take the mound after some extended rest for the Atlanta Braves in this matchup. Beachy was given a few extra days of rest as he dealt with elbow soreness and will make his first start since June 8th.
One area that may concern Atlanta is Beachy's inability to go deep into games recently. In his last three starts Beachy has managed to get past the fifth inning only once while still averaging 109.3 pitches per start.
The 25-year-old has also walked at least four batters in each of his last three starts after doing so only once in his first nine outings this season.
Also troubling is the fact that Beachy has lost his last three decisions which dropped his overall record this season to 5-4. His ERA, though, is still a stellar 1.98.
Beachy struggled with his command his last time out, allowing only three hits but walked five and surrendered a pair of runs in five innings. He did not factor in the decision of that win over Toronto.
The start against Toronto was only his fourth interleague start and first of this season. In his career he is 2-0 with a 2.86 ERA against the American League. One of those starts came against the Orioles last season when he allowed three runs on seven hits over five innings of work.
Although he doesn't lead the majors in ERA, Jason Hammel has led the surprising Orioles starters in the category this season and is also tied for the team lead in wins at 6-2 with a 3.22 ERA.
Currently on pace for a career year, Hammel was roughed up a bit in his last start, surrendering four runs on six hits and five walks over six innings of work at home against Philadelphia.
Hammel has also been allowing more free passes of late and the five he allowed against the Phillies was a season-high. He has now allowed 10 walks in his last three outings after allowing 17 in his first nine starts.
The seven-year-veteran has always been a better pitcher in the month of June where he is 10-3 with a 3.63 ERA in his career. He has eight or fewer wins and an ERA above 4.49 in every other month.
Hammel will be looking for his first career win against Atlanta, as he is 0-3 against the Braves with a 9.00 ERA in five career starts.
Atlanta rookie Andrelton Simmons learned first-hand about the ups and downs in the major leagues in Friday's opener.
The shortstop's throwing error in the fourth inning helped the Orioles score a pair of runs and take a 2-1 lead but two innings later Simmons smacked a two- run home run to retake the lead for good for Atlanta, as the Braves won the game 4-2.
Tommy Hanson started for the Braves, but didn't factor in the decision lasting only 5 1/3 innings while allowing just a pair of unearned runs while walking a season-high six batters and striking out two.
"The biggest thing is that we won and had some good defense and timely hitting," Hanson said. "The walks definitely hurt me, but it's good to get a win."
Chad Durbin earned the win and Craig Kimbrel pitched a scoreless ninth for his NL leading 19th save.
Brian Matusz dropped to 0-6 in interleague starts by allowing four runs over 6 2/3 innings on nine hits, including Simmons home run, while striking out seven for the Orioles.
"I was one good pitch away from getting out of the sixth and giving our team a chance to win," said Matusz. "This is the big leagues, make bad pitches and guys will hurt you. The Braves are a great hitting team and they took advantage of the mistakes today."
Wilson Betemit went 2-for-3 and scored a run on a sacrifice fly from Steve Pearce, the only RBI in the game for Baltimore.
Baltimore has now lost 11 of the last 15 meetings with Atlanta including two of three in last season's interleague series.