Saturday, July 20, 2013

Game 97 Preview: Atlanta Braves (55-41) at Chicago White Sox (37-56)

Pitching Probables:
LHP Paul Maholm (ATL) 9-8, 3.98 ERA
RHP Jake Peavy (CHW) 6-4, 4.30 ERA

Today's Starting Lineups (4:05 pm ET, FOX):

Braves (career vs. Peavy):
Jose Constanza - CF (N/A)
Chris Johnson - 3B (N/A)
Justin Upton - RF (4-6, 3B, HR, 4 RBI, K)
Freddie Freeman - 1B (N/A)
Brian McCann - DH (3-9, 2B, HR, RBI, K)
Evan Gattis - C (N/A)
Dan Uggla - 2B (2-11, 2B, 3B, RBI, BB, 6 K)
Andrelton Simmons - SS (N/A)
Joey Terdoslavich - LF (N/A)

White Sox (career vs. Maholm):
Alejandro De Aza - CF (2-4, K)
Alexei Ramirez - SS (0-3, 2 K)
Alex Rios - RF (0-3)
Dayan Viciedo - LF (1-3)
Jeff Keppinger - 1B (12-40, 4 2B, HR, 3 RBI, BB)
Casper Wells - DH (1-2, RBI, K)
Gordon Beckham - 2B (1-3, HR, RBI)
Josh Phegley - C (N/A)
Brent Morel - 3B (N/A)

The swirling trade rumors for both Paul Maholm and Jake Peavy are intensifying as the trade deadline draws nearer, but for Peavy, today might as well be Opening Day all over again.
Back from a fractured left rib that left him sidelined for six weeks, Jake Peavy will take the mound for the first time since June 4 as the White Sox take on Braves in the second of a three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field. White Sox manager Robin Ventura stated that Peavy will not be on a pitch count, but will be monitored closely after the extended layoff.
Peavy left his June 4 start against the Mariners after 2 1/3 innings with the fractured rib. White Sox are 13-23 since his injury.
As for Braves SP Paul Maholm will make his first start of the second half seeking his team-leading 10th win. Maholm has struggled in the first inning in his last three starts, giving up at least one run in the opening frame. The lefty will also look to reverse his misfortune away from Turner Field, where he holds a 5.37 ERA with 27 walks in 12 road starts this season which is a considerable dropoff from his 1.93 ERA with seven walks in seven home starts.

Braves stars set to return:
Braves OF Justin Upton was the first of four Braves ailing outfielders to make his return to the lineup last night, collecting a pair of hits after missing two games with a left calf strain. Fellow corner outfielder Jason Heyward is not far behind in his return, although he is not in today's lineup. BJ Upton is currently on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right adductor muscle while Jordan Schafer nurses a stress fracture in his right ankle after fouling a ball off it in Kansas City last month. The earliest date for BJ Upton to return his July 28 against the Cardinals. Schafer will be out for at least another month.
First basemen Freddie Freeman entered last night's game in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement and his in today's starting lineup for the first time since jamming his left thumb in last Saturday's game against the Reds. Freeman came away unscathed from a collision with Adam Dunn last night after Dan Uggla's throw pulled Freeman off the bag and into Dunn's path.

Phegley back in lineup for Sox:
White Sox C Josh Phegley did not have to miss any games thanks to the All-Star break after taking a foul ball off his right index finger in the ninth inning of Sunday's game. Phegley went 0-for-3 in last night's game, which marked only the eighth time in his Major League career in which he did not record a hit.

Side note:
Jake Peavy is 2-4 in seven career starts against the Braves with a 3.97 ERA, which is his third-highest ERA against a National League team.
Brian McCann has homered in three consecutive games after his go-ahead, three-run home run off John Danks in last night's 6-4 win.
Braves still hold the largest division lead in the Majors, holding a 6.5 game lead over second place Phillies and seven games over the Nationals.

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