Braves’ Newcomb counting on more run support vs. Dodgers

LOS ANGELES — Sean Newcomb is on the mound Sunday, which means the Atlanta Braves are pointed toward another all-around game.

The left-hander will not only take a 7-1 record and a 2.49 ERA into his outing against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he will bring along loads of run-support with him. The Braves have scored 59 runs while Newcomb has been on the mound this season, roughly five runs a game on average.

That is 1 1/2 more runs of support per game than any other Braves starter, with at least 15 innings pitched this season. It means Newcomb has been the biggest benefactor of the National League’s top scoring club.

The Braves could use a Newcomb start to finish off a series victory in L.A. after Saturday’s 5-3 victory. Despite their propensity for runs this season, Atlanta was just 1-3 on their current six-game West Coast road trip before beating the Dodgers on Saturday.

“Like I’ve said before, you’re going to run into stretches like that over the course of a long season,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of the team’s recent hiccup. “You’ve just got to keep fighting through it, whether it’s a road trip or a homestand or whatever it is, you just keep grinding, fighting through it, come out tomorrow and win a game.”

Saturday was more like it as Braves catcher Tyler Flowers led the offense with three RBI, including a two-run double.

The Dodgers will still go into Sunday’s series finale with confidence thanks to the presence of starter Ross Stripling (4-1, 1.52).

With a revamped curveball, Stripling has been a savior for a rotation that has been crushed by injuries to guys like Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Kenta Maeda, who are all on the disabled list.

Never a strikeout pitcher, even in college at Texas A&M, Stripling now has 49 strikeouts over his last 38 innings, with just five walks. Working with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, Striping has added velocity to his curveball, giving it deceptive late action.

Stripling lasted just five innings in his most recent start Tuesday at Pittsburgh, but faced the minimum through three innings and gave an insight to how confident he has been these days.

“When you hand me a scouting report to prepare, and a guy has a certain hole, I can throw that pitch, more than likely,” Stripling said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Because I can basically manipulate a ball in most ways, besides sinking it.”

Stripling does not have a decision in four previous appearances against the Braves (one start), posting a 4.00 ERA. Newcomb is 0-1 in two career starts against the Dodgers with a 5.06 ERA.

The last time the Braves took a series at Dodger Stadium was in April of 2012. Atlanta won twice in a three-game series and are poised to do the same Sunday.

The Braves are now 4-7 against the National League West this season. They won two of three games from the Colorado Rockies in April, which still stands as their only series victory against the NL West this season.