Orioles-Braves Preview

Brandon Beachy and Jason Hammel are having breakout seasons,

though neither has pitched as well lately as he’s come to

expect.

Both battling minor injuries, they’ll look to end personal

winless stretches when Beachy’s Atlanta Braves host Hammel’s

Baltimore Orioles on Saturday night.

Despite this being only his second full season as a starter,

Beachy (5-4, 1.98 ERA) has become the most effective pitcher in

Atlanta’s rotation by allowing more than two earned runs only once

in his 12 outings.

The majors’ ERA leader hasn’t won in nearly a month, though, in

part due to a lack of run support. Beachy is 0-3 with a 3.47 ERA in

four starts since tossing a five-hit shutout against Miami on May

17, receiving six runs of support in 23 1-3 innings during that

stretch.

The right-hander pitched five scoreless innings before running

into trouble and quickly exiting June 8 against Toronto. He wound

up being charged with two runs and walking a career high-tying

five.

Beachy was scheduled to start Wednesday against the New York

Yankees, but he was pushed back due to a sore right elbow.

“Can’t hurt,” Beachy told the team’s official website of having

his start delayed. “I want to be out there as often as I can, but

I’m not going to complain about getting a couple extra days of

rest.”

Beachy is 2-0 with a 2.86 ERA in four career interleague starts,

not earning a decision after allowing three runs in five innings of

the Braves’ 5-4 loss to Baltimore on July 3.

He’ll be opposed by Hammel (6-2, 3.22), who gets a fourth chance

to match his win total from last season in Colorado.

Hammel gave up four runs and walked a season-high five in six

innings of Baltimore’s 5-4, 10-inning win over Philadelphia on

Sunday.

The right-hander is 0-1 with a 4.58 ERA over his last three

starts while battling through a sore right knee.

“It’s a grind,” Hammel told the team’s official website. “You’ve

got to find a way to get it done when you don’t have your best

stuff or you’re just not getting things done the way you’re used

to.”

Hammel hasn’t had very good stuff against the Braves in his

career, going 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA in five starts, but he’ll look to

help Baltimore (37-27) bounce back after its five-game winning

streak was snapped with a 4-2 loss in the series opener.

The Orioles averaged 7.3 runs and 11.6 hits over their previous

six games, but only managed six hits against four Braves pitchers

Friday.

“I thought the story was not taking advantage of all the

opportunities that we had. And we hit into some hard luck, too,”

manager Buck Showalter said.

Atlanta (35-29) halted a four-game skid with the victory, as

Brian McCann hit a solo home run and Andrelton Simmons went 3 for 4

with the go-ahead two-run shot in the sixth.

Simmons, who has played 12 games since his major league debut

June 2, is 7 for 10 over his last three and went deep after his

first career error led to two fourth-inning runs for Baltimore.

“After I made the error, I felt like it cost us two runs,”

Simmons said. “I was trying to make it up to the team.”

A win Saturday would guarantee the Braves a fifth consecutive

home series win over the Orioles.