Pitching matchup favors Dodgers vs. Braves (Jul 22, 2017)

BY AP • July 22, 2017

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves square off on Saturday night with two pitchers showing opposite results.

Los Angeles' Rich Hill (6-4, 3.55 ERA) has never lost to the Braves, sporting a pristine 3-0 mark with a sparkling 1.89 ERA.

Atlanta's Julio Teheran (7-7, 4.69) has never beaten Los Angeles, dropping all five decisions and pitching to a 4.69 ERA.

Something figures to give as the Braves go for the third straight win over a team that had won 11 consecutive games before Atlanta arrived.

Hill has put his blister problems behind him of late and produced some of his best pitching of the season. The left-hander found his groove this month, producing some stellar numbers in three starts, two of which he won. Hill has thrown 19 innings during that span and allowed but two runs and 11 hits. His 29 strikeouts to one walk is hard to ignore, too.

Hill, who was expected to be team's No. 2 starter behind Clayton Kershaw before Alex Wood's emergence, has tinkered with his release point for most the season, aching to get his offspeed offering just right.

Make that his entire 12-year career that Hill has adjusted something with his delivery.

"I guess all pitchers have to have feel, for the most part,'' Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "But with Rich and the curveball being 50 percent of his mix, he's got to have that feel.''

Hill's a tough draw as batters seldom see the same pitch from the same location. He's a master at adding and subtracting velocity, all in a quest to catch someone on his knee-bending curveball.

"He is changing trajectory or angles and he is varying speeds and then there's the striking with the fastball,'' Roberts said. "He is where he had hoped he would be.''

Hill was on the mark in beating the Miami Marlins in his first start after the All-Star break. He worked five innings and surrendered one run and five hits. It was a nifty nine-strikeout, no-walk outing.

"Really the last four or five starts he has been very good for us,'' Roberts said. "He's logging innings and that was what was expected from him.''

Teheren is enjoying a solid July as well. He has won two of his three starts this month, with the loss coming his last time out against the Chicago Cubs. He was done in by his four walks as much as the five hits in being charged with two runs in six innings.

Braves manager Brian Snitker said Teheran, a two-time All-Star, pitched better than what his line revealed.

"He's been really good on the road, real good,'' Snitker said. "And he was good at home the other day. So hopefully things are turning. He's been keeping the ball down and hitting his spots.''

Teheran still leans on the fastball-curveball-changeup mixture and Snitker said there has been more giddy-up lately with the heater.

"The velocity has kind of been back,'' Snitker said. "As well as the location and whole bit. He's been real good the last two times out."

The Braves have won seven of their past nine road games.

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