With the Arizona Diamondbacks in the midst of an NL West Division battle, Wade Miley will get thrown into the fire when he makes his major league debut Saturday versus the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.
Miley was 4-1 with a 3.64 ERA in eight starts for the Triple-A Reno Aces and is taking the rotation spot left open by Jason Marquis, who landed on the disabled list with a fractured right fibula. Marquis was hit by a liner off the bat of Angel Pagan in the third inning of Sunday's 5-3 victory against the New York Mets.
"We know he's got good stuff," D'Backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He threw a lot in Spring Training. He was kind of pitching for a spot, and we threw a lot at him with his moves and all the fundamental stuff. I think it was a good experience for him."
The Diamondbacks have dropped three in a row since ripping off seven straight victories, and suffered a 4-2 loss to the Braves in last night's opener of this three-game series. Daniel Hudson was dealt the loss for giving up four runs and seven hits in six innings of work.
Justin Upton had two RBI and Kelly Johnson recorded three hits for Arizona, which remained 2 1/2 games ahead of San Francisco for the NL West lead. The Giants also lost Friday to the lowly Houston Astros.
The D'Backs are 1-3 so far on a 10-game road trip which concludes next week with a three-game series in Washington.
Atlanta appears headed for a postseason berth and sits seven games in front of San Francisco for the NL Wild Card lead. It has won two straight, four of five and nine of the last 12 games, including Friday's 4-2 triumph behind a trio of home runs and five shutout innings from Derek Lowe.
Michael Bourn, Brian McCann and Chipper Jones all went deep for the Braves, who are 7 1/2 games behind the NL East-leading Phillies. Lowe earned the win and scattered four hits with seven K's and two walks.
"It was a team that we're battling for a playoff spot. We've had a tremendous last five games against teams that we're fighting for playoff spots for," said Lowe. "From that standpoint, it was gratifying that we went out and got a win."
Braves All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel pitched the final inning for his major league-leading 38th save, which is second-most all-time among rookies, two behind the record held by Texas' Neftali Feliz (2010).
Atlanta is 5-3 so far on a 10-game homestand. According to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, veteran Jones will return for the 2012 campaign. Jones hit his second home run in as many games last night and appears to be at full strength after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in July.
"I'm playing next year," Jones told the paper. "I still feel like I can go out there and play a good third base and be a threat, at least, at the plate. I'm having a good defensive year, and the [batting] average is on the rise."
Brandon Beachy draws the start for the Braves Saturday and is 2-0 over his past five starts with consecutive no-decisions. Beachy allowed two runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings of a 6-5 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday from Turner Field, and is 5-2 with a 3.43 earned run average in 18 starts.
Beachy, a right-hander, has never faced Arizona in his brief career and will make his 10th start in Dixie this season. He is 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA over the initial nine trips to the Atlanta mound.
Arizona swept a brief two-game series over Atlanta at home back on May 18-19.