Dodgers take eight-game winning streak to Atlanta (Aug 01, 2017)

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves snapped the Dodgers’ 11-game winning streak July 20, then won again in Los Angeles the next night.

It was just a blip for Dodgers team with the best record in the majors, though.

The Dodgers have won all eight games since and are on yet another winning streak going into a three-game series at Atlanta that begins Tuesday night. Los Angeles is opening a nine-game trip.

Despite a 74-31 record that includes 39 victories in their past 45 games, the Dodgers added starter Yu Darvish and two left-handed relievers Monday just before the non-waiver trade deadline.

Darvish, a four-time All-Star who has a 3.42 ERA and 52 career victories in the major leagues after starring in Japan, was acquired from the Texas Rangers to slot into the potential playoff rotation between lefties Clayton Kershaw, currently recuperating from a back strain, and Alex Wood.

The Dodgers, who went 20-3 in July, also added lefty matchup capability in their bullpen ahead of closer Kenley Jansen by acquiring Tony Watson from the Pittsburgh Pirates and Tony Cingrani from the Cincinnati Reds.

“I think it will definitely be an emotional boost for the team,” Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said of the deals. “It’s hard to say they need it.”

Darvish, 30, becomes a free agent after the season and has struggled of late after missing the 2015 season following Tommy John elbow surgery. Reportedly tipping off his pitches, he has lost his past five decisions and is 6-9 with a 4.01 ERA overall this season.

“It’s an honor to be wanted by the team,” Darvish told the media in Texas through a translator after the deal was announced.

Los Angeles right-hander Kenta Maeda, who will face the Braves in the series opener, saw his chances of getting a postseason start diminished with the addition of Darvish.

Maeda is 8-2 with a 3.00 ERA in his past 14 outings, but he has a 4.09 ERA to go with his 9-4 record for the season. He has pitched more than five innings just three times this season.

It will be just the second career start against the Braves for Maeda, who is 3-3 with a 5.65 ERA on the road this season.

Maeda pitched well in Los Angeles last year against Atlanta, allowing one run over 6 1/3 innings while throwing a career-high 107 pitches in a victory over the Braves.

Atlanta will promote right-hander Lucas Sims, a first-round pick in 2012, from Triple-A Gwinnett to start Tuesday in his major league debut.

Sims, a 23-year-old Georgia native, was 7-4 with a 3.75 ERA in 20 games (19 starts) for Gwinnett. He led the International League with 132 strikeouts in 115 1/3 innings.

“He’s had a really good year,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It will be exciting to see one of our young kids get an opportunity. That’s what it’s all about.”

Having to face Los Angeles in his debut will be a challenge for Sims. The Dodgers’ record through 105 games is the best in the National League since World War II, and Los Angeles has won 51 consecutive games when taking a lead at any point.

“Welcome to the big leagues, you’ve got the Dodgers,” Snitker said.

Sims takes the rotation spot of veteran left-hander Jaime Garcia, who was traded after beating the Dodgers in Los Angeles and hitting a grand slam off Wood.

The Braves (48-56) lost eight of the last nine games on their road trip after winning the first two of four games in Los Angeles. They return home on a five-game losing streak after getting swept in a four-game series at Philadelphia for the first time since 1949.