Justin Upton’s return Monday overshadows just about everything else going on between the Braves and the Diamondbacks as they prepare for a three-game series that opens Monday, the teams’ only set at Chase Field this year.
Both teams are playing well as they are newly structured — the Braves (21-16) are in first place in the NL East and the D-backs (21-17) are in second in the NL West. Upton got off to a blistering start and still leads the major leagues with 12 home runs, although he does not have one in his last 40 at-bats, and his .990 OPS is sixth in the National League.
Pitching matchups: Monday — LHP Minor (4-2, 2.96 ERA) vs. LHP Wade Miley (3-1, 2.93). Tuesday — RHP Julio Teheran (2-0, 4.84) vs. LHP Patrick Corbin (5-0, 1.75). Wednesday — RHP Tim Hudson (4-2, 4.70) vs. RHP Ian Kennedy (1-3, 4.83).
Who’s hot for the D-backs: Patrick Corbin is the only pitcher in the major leagues who has pitched six innings or more and given up two runs or fewer in all of his seven starts this season season. … Eric Chavez has hit safely in eight of his nine games. … Paul Goldschmidt is third in the NL with 30 RBIs, and he had four home runs and nine RBIs last week. … Gerardo Parra has hit safely in his six of his last seven games, with four of those multi-hit games.
Who’s not not for the D-backs: The bullpen recovered from the injury to J.J. Putz with four straight save conversions before a stumble Sunday for its 11th blown save of the season. … Martin Prado is 2 for 32 with runners in scoring position this season, and one of those hits was on Opening Day.
Who’s hot for the Braves: Catcher Brian McCann, who missed the first five weeks of the season while recovering from October shoulder surgery, is 5 for 18 (.278) with two homers and seven RBIs in five games since being activated May 6. … Chris Johnson, also sent to Atlanta in the seven-player Upton deal, is hitting .302 with two hits in his last 26 at-bats.
Who’s not hot for the Braves: B.J. Upton, who signed a five-year, $75.25 million free-agent deal over the winter, is hitting .153 with three homers. … Craig Kimbrel is fourth in the NL with 11 saves, but he has failed to convert three of his last six chances and has given up five runs in his last 5 2/3 innings. … Dan Uggla has seven homers but is hitting only .195.
Notes, quotes, odds and ends: Justin and B.J. Upton hit back-to-back homers on April 23 in Colorado, the second time brothers had done so in major league history; the first was by Pittsburgh Hall of Famers Lloyd and Paul Waner on Sept. 15, 1938. … The D-backs have the fewest errors in the major leagues, eight, and are tied for first in the majors in outfield assists with 14. Their defense has saved 27 runs more than the average defense, according to one defensive metric. … Atlanta lost the last three games of a four-game series against San Francisco that ended Sunday. … The Braves are 12-11 on the road, and by the time this series is over, they will have played 26 road games against only 14 home games. … Tim Hudson became the 110th pitcher to win 200 games when he beat Washington 8-1 on April 30, hitting a home run in the same game. Hudson is 3-0 with a 0.76 ERA in his last three starts against the D-backs.