Braves @ Dodgers July 20, 2017: A dozen straight wins looks doable

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

The best team in baseball completed yet another sweep after a rain-shortened finale on Wednesday in Chicago. Now the Dodgers (66-29) return home to begin a 10-game homestand. They’ll host the Atlanta Braves (45-48) for a four-game set starting Thursday night. L.A. goes for their 12th straight win, a feat the team hasn’t accomplished since 1976.

Braves
Dodgers
7:10 p.m.
Los Angeles
CF
Inciarte
2B
Utley
2B
Phillips
SS
Seager
3B
Freeman
3B
Turner
LF
Kemp
1B
Bellinger
1B
Adams
LF
Taylor
RF
Markakis
C
Grandal
C
Suzuki CF Pederson
SS
Camargo
RF
Puig
P
Foltynewicz (R)
P
McCarthy (R)

The Braves, 8 1/2 games back in the NL Wild Card race, come into the L.A. series looking to snap a three-game losing streak after being swept by the Cubs. It won’t be easy for the Tomahawk Choppers, who haven’t found much success at Dodger Stadium and have to face a team with a plus-181 run differential. The Braves have lost 12 of their last 15 games at Chavez Ravine, including postseason play.

Brandon McCarthy (6-3, 3.38 ERA, 3.27 FIP) gets the ball for the series opener. Last time out in Miami, McCarthy only lasted 4 2/3 innings and allowed four runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and two walks. Although he wasn’t involved in the decision, the Dodgers ended up defeating the Marlins. In fact, the Dodgers have won five straight McCarthy starts going back to June 14.

McCarthy has only faced the Braves once in his career, a 2014 loss when he was with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Quite a few of the current Braves players have fared well against the right-hander in the past. Nick Markakis is hitting .316 with six base hits including two home runs against BMac in 19 at-bats. Old friend Matt Kemp (more on him in a bit) is hitting .429 against him with six hits in 14 at-bats. Kurt Suzuki is also hitting over .300 against McCarthy as well.

Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz (7-5, 3.84 ERA, 4.51 FIP) hasn’t lost a decision since May 27, and Atlanta has won 10 of his last 12 starts. Folty also made headlines when he took a no-hitter into the ninth inning on June 30 in Oakland in a 119-pitch performance. The big right-hander has never faced the Dodgers. Logan Forsythe and Chase Utley are the only current Dodgers with any at-bats against him.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Kemp’s resurgence this year. Now 32 years old, Kemp is having his best season since he wore Blue and was primed to be a Dodger for life. He’s finally healthy and seemingly happy with Atlanta, hitting .291/.339/.481/.820 with 13 home runs. It’s hard to forget about his 2011 season when he led the NL with 39 home runs and 126 RBI, finished third in the league with a .324 average and stole 40 bases. His speed is long gone, and his defense is still subpar, but it’s difficult not to root for his success (when he’s not playing against the Dodgers) even though it’s been a long bumpy road for the ex-Dodger.

——

So long, Sergio Romo.

About Stacie Wheeler

Stacie Wheeler
Stacie Wheeler, born and raised in So Cal, has been writing about the Dodgers since 2010. She wrote daily as the Co-Editor of Lasorda's Lair for five long years, and she has also written for Dodgers Nation and Dodger Blue 1958. She currently contributes to The Hardball Times. Stacie graduated from the University Of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in Cinema-Television. You can also watch her videos on her YouTube channel, DishingUpTheDodgers.