Freddie Freeman has continued to light up Arizona's pitching while leading the Atlanta Braves' offensive surge during their longest winning streak in almost a year.
The All-Star first baseman looks to stay hot in Sunday's finale when the Braves seek their season-best 10th straight victory against the visiting Diamondbacks.Freeman had a triple, double and scored three runs as Atlanta (49-38) rolled to its 11th win in 12 games with Saturday's 10-4 victory over major league-worst Arizona (36-53).He's gone 4 for 9 with three RBIs in the first two games of the series and has keyed Atlanta's outstanding production during this stretch by hitting .367 with 12 extra-base hits and 11 RBIs in his last 20 contests.Freeman has been particularly good when facing Arizona. He has a nine-game hitting streak against the Diamondbacks and a .402 average -- his highest versus any NL opponent -- with six homers and 25 RBIs in 23 career meetings.The NL East leaders are a season-best 11 games above .500 thanks in part to a lineup that has averaged 5.6 runs during the team's longest winning streak since a 14-game run from July 26-Aug. 9."Our confidence is real high right now, and everybody's feeling good about how we're swinging the bats and playing defense," Saturday's winning pitcher Aaron Harang said.Atlanta, however, could be in for a challenge against Arizona's opening day starter as it seeks a three-game sweep while handing the Diamondbacks a sixth loss in seven games.Wade Miley has allowed three earned runs or fewer in seven of his eight road starts and limited the Braves to one over seven innings in a 4-3, 11-inning home win June 7.The left-hander is 2-1 with a 3.42 ERA on the road, but he hasn't won in any venue since May 10. He's 0-3 with a 4.40 ERA while receiving just 20 runs of support over his last nine outings."It hasn't been a very good trip for us, but we've got to win tomorrow," manager Kirk Gibson said. "We need a big game from Wade tomorrow."Miley (3-6, 4.61 ERA) allowed just two runs and four hits with 10 strikeouts over eight-plus innings Tuesday when Pittsburgh rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth for a 3-2 victory.He had been 0-2 with an 11.81 ERA in three career starts against the Braves before pitching well against them last month. Simmons and Evan Gattis went a combined 5 for 6 with three doubles in that contest, but Gattis is out with a back injury.Alex Wood (6-6, 3.19) hopes to contribute to an Atlanta pitching staff that has posted a 2.22 ERA during the win streak. The left-hander has been sharp with a 1-0 record and 2.08 ERA in two starts since re-joining the rotation.He gave up three runs with seven strikeouts over six innings to keep things close against the New York Mets on Monday before Atlanta rallied late for a 5-3 win.Wood makes his first career start against the Diamondbacks, though he has thrown two innings of scoreless relief in three appearances against them the past two seasons.Arizona, which has dropped five straight at Turner Field, has scored four runs or less in eight of its last nine contests. Slugger Paul Goldschmidt is 9 for 19 with four doubles over his last five games, but he hasn't homered in his last 17.
Brandon McCarthy has a 1.22 run difference between his ERA (5.01) and FIP (3.79), the largest of any qualified pitcher in MLB.
Wade Miley is throwing 58 percent of his pitches in the lower third of the strike zone or below this season, second most often among qualified pitchers. Justin Upton is hitting .322 and slugging .538 against such pitches this season, both in the top 10 among qualified hitters.