It will be a matchup of surging southpaw starters when the Arizona Diamondbacks and host Atlanta Braves open their three-game series Tuesday night.
Arizona kicks off a 10-game road trip by sending Robbie Ray (0-1, 3.52) against Atlanta’s Max Fried (2-0, 0.00).
The Diamondbacks broke a four-game losing streak by beating the San Diego Padres on Sunday. Atlanta has won two straight after splitting a four-game series with the New York Mets.
Ray received no-decision in his last start on April 10 against the Texas Rangers. He allowed one run on two hits with 10 strikeouts in his five-inning stint. He has allowed three or fewer runs in three straight games to start the season and opponents are batting only .137 against him.
Ray is 0-2 with a 4.11 ERA in three career starts against Atlanta, but will be making his first career start at SunTrust Park.
Fried has not given up an earned run in his two starts and has forced his way into the rotation. He was originally seen as a long man and opened the season in the bullpen. Fried threw his knee-buckling curve ball 37 percent of the time in his last start at Colorado. “In the bullpen, I noticed all my pitches were breaking about the same as they normally did,” Fried said. “So I just wanted to attack them, get ahead, throw some curveballs, some sliders, some changeups, and keep them off balance.”
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The Diamondbacks have been struggling with offense. They scored four or fewer runs three times over their past seven games. Arizona lost three one-run games during that stretch and hit only .237 overall and .185 with runners in scoring position.
One exception is outfielder David Peralta, who will be happy to see the Braves. He is a career .333 hitter (30-for-98) with two doubles, two homers and 13 RBIs in 25 games against Atlanta.
Peralta was given the day off Sunday, but got a chance to pinch-hit in the sixth inning and hit a three-run homer.
“Even if you’re not in the lineup, you always have to be ready for the opportunity, any kind of opportunity,” Peralta said. Peralta has been ready all season. His 25 hits through 16 games matches the team record set by Matt Williams in 1999 and his league-leading nine doubles are a franchise best for that span. He’s batting .373 with 10 RBIs.
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