ATLANTA — The cozier dimensions were obviously going to make SunTrust Park more hitter-friendly than Turner Field, the Atlanta Braves’ former home.
Throw in the uptick on home runs this season, and it often hasn’t been the best place to pitch. Already there has been 138 homers hit at the new ballpark compared to 130 all last year at the Ted.
Atlanta knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey will try to prevent Seattle from going deep as the Braves conclude their three-game interleague series with the Mariners on Wednesday night.
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The teams split the first two games, with Seattle winning 6-5 on Monday and Atlanta earning a 4-0 victory on Tuesday.
Dickey, signed as a free agent by the Braves in November, has for the most part adapted well to SunTrust Park, going 6-3 with a 3.50 ERA.
The right-hander hasn’t been able to avoid the long ball, though.
Of the 22 home runs the 42-year-old has allowed while going 8-8 with a 3.98 ERA, 16 have come at home, including three in four batters against Cincinnati on Friday in a loss that snapped a personal two-game winning streak.
“In a different park, maybe one of those is a fly ball,” Dickey said.
Erasmo Ramirez, making his fifth start for Seattle after being acquired from Tampa Bay, will oppose Dickey.
Ramirez (5-4, 4.52 ERA) defeated the Rays — his former team — in Tampa Bay on Saturday. He is 1-1 with a 3.54 ERA for the Mariners.
The 27-year-old right-hander is being stretched back out to fill one of the holes in the Seattle rotation after being moved to the bullpen by the Rays.
Ramirez has gone six innings in each of his past two starts, allowing a combined one earned run and five hits.
“Every time I’m feeling stronger,” Ramirez said. “When you’re able to throw strikes in the sixth and have the same speed is something you’re looking for all the time.”
Ramirez’s last of eight starts for the Rays was June 28. He pitched out of the bullpen for Tampa Bay in 2016 after being a starter the year before and during three partial seasons with Mariners, his original team.
“He’s done a good job of expanding himself, working that pitch count up, and you could see him get stronger as he gets deeper in games now,” Mariners catcher Mike Zunino said.
Dickey, the National League Cy Young Award winner in 2012 with the New York Mets, has won 118 career games. He still is at the mercy of his knuckleball, though.
“You’ve got to live or die with the knuckleball, and it kind of bit me,” Dickey said after the loss to the Reds.
“It was pretty much three pitches,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Otherwise, they were taking some pretty ugly swings.”
Ugly has been the only description for the Mariners’ defense so far in the series. Seattle made four errors in the opener and two more Tuesday. Three of the Braves’ runs have been unearned.
“We just haven’t played clean baseball. We’ve got to tighten that up,” Servais said.