Despite modest returns on blockbuster deal, D-backs, Braves atop divisions heading into three-game set.
By TYLER LOCKMANFS Arizona
Last month, the
Diamondbacks hosted their former cornerstone, as
Justin Upton returned to Phoenix in an Atlanta Braves uniform. This weekend, it's Upton's turn to play host as the D-backs meet the Braves for three games.
Upton has cooled off since a red-hot start that had D-backs fans lamenting the trade of its young franchise player. On the D-backs side, starting pitcher Randall Delgado has been somewhat underwhelming in two starts, with a third coming Friday against his fomer team, and third baseman Martin Prado has not lived up to expectations offensively.
Accordingly, it's still too early to say which team "won" the trade. But the two teams will be linked at least for a while thanks to the franchise-changing deal. And even with the uneven returns from the principals, both teams enter the series in first place in their divisions, so neither is complaining in the short term. Here's a look at what to expect for the weekend as the D-backs continue a 10-game road trip.
PITCHING MATCHUPS: Friday -- RHP Randall Delgado (0-1. 4.50 ERA) vs. RHP Julio Teheran (5-4, 3.32). Saturday -- RHP Ian Kennedy (3-5, 5.21) vs. RHP Tim Hudson (4-7, 4.10). Sunday -- RHP Trevor Cahill (3-9, 4.29) vs. LHP Paul Maholm (8-6, 3.75).
WHO'S HOT FOR THE D-BACKS: Since returning from the disabled list Tuesday second baseman Aaron Hill is 3 for 12 with four runs scored, a home runs and two RBI. If he keeps this up, the D-backs offense should get a nice boost. … First baseman Paul Goldschmidt added to his NL-best RBI total (67) with two against the Nationals in a 6-for-14 performance over three games. … Catcher Miguel Montero is 5 for 15 with a double, three walks and three RBI over his last four games. … Reliever Brad Ziegler has allowed just one earned run in the month of June and owns a 1.93 ERA on the season.
WHO'S NOT: Trevor Cahill is amid the worst statistical month of his career. In five starts, he is 0-4 with a 9.30 ERA. The D-backs are 1-4 in those games, and Cahill did not reached the six-inning mark in any of them, though he was forces to leave one after an inning upon being hit by a line drive. … Since his last RBI on June 9, outfielder A.J. Pollock has gone 6 for 36 (.167) with two doubles and a .211 on-base percentage. Pollock has seen his playing time reduced somewhat since a hot start. … Jason Kubel has just three hits in his last 15 at-bats.
WHO'S HOT FOR THE BRAVES: Saturday starter Tim Hudson has strung together five consecutive quality starts. Even so, the right-hander is 0-3 in that span. His 1.82 ERA, though, indicates he's pitching a lot better than his offense is supporting him. … Over his last seven games, former D-backs third baseman Chris Johnson has gone 9 for 24 (.375) at the plate with five RBI and two home runs. ... Friday starter Julio Teheran has a 1.46 ERA over his past two starts and struck out thirteen total batters in 12 1/3 innings.
WHO'S NOT: Since crushing 12 home runs in the first month of the season, Justin Upton has cooled off significantly. After that April, which also included 19 RBI, five doubles, and a .298 average Upton has batted .210 (37 for 176) with three home runs, five doubles and 17 RBI. … Since his last RBI on June 17, first baseman Freddie Freeman is 4 for 30 in nine games with no extra base hits, though he has accumulated 10 walks. … Shortstop Andrelton Simmons is 5 for 25 over the past week without an extra-base hit, and he hasn't driven in a run since June 4.
NOTES, QUOTES, ODDS AND ENDS: Friday starter Randall Delgado gets his first chance to pitch against his original team. Delgado made 24 starts for the Braves in 2011 and 2012, going 5-10 with a 3.97 ERA. In three appearances (two starts) for the D-backs, Delgado is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA. … Saturday starter Ian Kennedy returns from a 10-game suspension for throwing near Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke's head, which incited a bench-clearing brawl. Kennedy has not pitched since June 16. … Willie Bloomquist missed Thursday's game with a swollen left hand. Bloomquist was hit by a pitch Wednesday and felt sore the next day. … The Braves will retire legendary third baseman Chippers Jones' jersey number in a pregame ceremony Friday.