After dropping the last two of three games with the Philadelphia Phillies, the Los Angeles Dodgers now begin a four-game series with the Atlanta Braves, who enter play in second place in the National League East.
Going just 4-6 in their last 10 contests, the Braves see the return of Ozzie Albies after he missed the last three games. Albies is batting .358 since June 17, and ranks among the NL leaders in doubles (30), extra-base hits (53), runs scored (75), total bases (211) and hits (115) during that span.
He and the Braves will look to provide run support for Anibal Sanchez, who has pitched to a 2.92 ERA in four starts during July. Overall, the right-hander is 5-2 with a 2.76 ERA, 3.89 FIP and 1.06 WHIP in 13 games (12 starts) this season.
Sanchez has been even better at SunTrust Park, yielding a 1.99 ERA and collecting 26 strikeouts against seven walks in 31.2 innings across six games (five starts).
Sanchez 1-1 with a 3.24 ERA in six career starts against the Dodgers. He last faced them June 9 at Dodger Stadium, allowing two runs on three hits over 5.1 innings to pick up the win.
But the lineup Sanchez faces Thursday night is notably different than what he saw last month. Not just because it now includes Manny Machado, but Joc Pederson is in the midst of a stellar streak.
In six games (four starts) since the All-Star break, Pederson is 10-for-18 with three doubles, one home run, one RBI and three walks, good for a .556/.579/.889 batting line. Meanwhile, Matt Kemp makes his first visit to Atlanta since the offseason trade.
Kemp is a career .264/.317/.415 hitter with eight doubles, seven home runs and 21 RBI in 55 games at SunTrust Park.
As for matters on the mound, Rich Hill looks to build on a strong start against the Milwaukee Brewers in which he allowed just one run and collected nine strikeouts over six innings. Hill nearly pitched in relief during the 16-inning marathon with the Phillies.
He’s steadily shaken off a poor start to the season and more trouble with blisters as the year has worn on. Hill enters 3-4 with a 4.26 ERA, 4.66 FIP and 1.39 WHIP in 13 games (12 starts).
LF: Joc Pederson
3B: Manny Machado
2B: Max Muncy
C: Yasmani Grandal
RF: Matt Kemp
1B: Cody Bellinger
SS: Chris Taylor
CF: Alex Verdugo
P: Rich Hill
LF: Ronald Acuna Jr.
2B: Ozzie Albies
1B: Freddie Freeman
RF: Nick Markakis
C: Kurt Suzuki
SS: Charlie Culberson
3B: Johan Camargo
CF: Ender Inciarte
P: Anibal Sanchez
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