Dodgers @ Braves August 1, 2017: A new month and new friends

The Dodgers go for their 75th win of the season when they begin a nine-game road trip and open a three-game series on Tuesday evening against the Braves (48-56) in their new stadium, SunTrust Park. Vying for their ninth straight win, the Dodgers became an even bigger force to be reckoned with after completing three trades right before the non-waiver trade deadline on Monday to land Texas ace Yu Darvish and two left-handed reinforcements for the bullpen, Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani. The bold moves make an already deeply talented team even more so all while retaining their top three prospects in their farm system.

Dodgers
Braves
4:35 PM PT
Atlanta
LF
Taylor
CF
Inciarte
SS
 Seager
3B
Santana
3B
Turner
1B
Freeman
1B
Bellinger
LF
Adams
CF
Pederson
C
Flowers
2B
Forsythe
RF
Markakis
C
Grandal 2B Albies
RF
Puig
SS
Camargo
P
Maeda (R)
P
Sims (R)

Darvish won’t make his Dodger debut just yet, but his fellow countryman Kenta Maeda (9-4, 4.09 ERA, 3.97 FIP) will take the mound in the series opener against Atlanta. Both pitchers dominated in the Nippon Professional Baseball League before moving to MLB, but they are very different pitchers. Maeda, more of a finesse pitcher, hasn’t gone deeper than five innings in a start since June 27 and has struggled on the road (3-3, 5.65 ERA) this year.

Maeda has only faced the Braves once in early June of last year at Dodger Stadium. He allowed one earned run in 6 1/3 innings, hurling a career-high 107 pitches in the 5-3 Dodger win. With a drool worthy potential postseason pitching rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Darvish, Alex Wood and Rich Hill, Maeda looks to recapture the consistency in his pitching he had with the Dodgers last season in order to stay in the mix.

The Braves promoted 23-year old right-hander Lucas Sims from Triple-A Gwinnett to start in his major league debut Tuesday. He’ll slot into the Atlanta rotation to replace Jaime Garcia, grand slam hitter, who was traded to the Yankees. Sims was 7-4 with a 3.75 ERA in 20 games (19 starts) this season in AAA, leading the International League with 132 strikeouts in 115 1/3 innings. Facing the 2017 Dodgers in your MLB debut isn’t an easy task, especially when your team has lost five straight and is coming off a four-game series sweep at the hands of the last-place Philadelphia Phillies.

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New friends!

Darvish will make his Dodger debut on Friday and will wear No. 21.

Watson joins the Dodgers’ bullpen tonight, and Cingrani will join the team Thursday.

Finally, Brett Eibner underwent Tommy John surgery and will miss the remainder of the season.

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Kershaw went on the disabled list with a back strain after the series finale vs. the Braves at Dodger Stadium last month. The Dodgers’ ace exited the game after two innings on July 23, but the Dodgers still rallied to win the game 5-4 and salvaged a series split. The Dodgers haven’t lost since. It’s now August, and they haven’t slowed down. With the acquisition of Darvish, this team now has everything they need to make something special happen in October. The players just have to do their job.

The first order of business to open the Darvish Era is to get through this series in Atlanta without losing our minds listening to the Tomahawk Chop.

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.