First-year skipper Fredi Gonzalez brings his Braves team (57-40) to Great American Ball Park for a 3-game set with the Redlegs (48-50) beginning Friday night.
Although boasting the league's second best record, Atlanta continues to try and keep pace with the NL East leading Philadelphia Phillies. Entering play on Wednesday the Braves remained four games back of the Phils, but maintained a comfortable, five-game lead in the Wildcard standings.
In the home dugout will be Dusty Baker's Reds -- who keep hanging around in the midst of the crowded NL Central race. After avoiding a sweep with a 3-1 win over Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Cincy sits within striking distance at four games back of the front-running Brewers. To even think about a potential playoff berth however, the Reds must take advantage of this crucial 10-game homestand they're about to kickoff this weekend.
Here is a look at the game times, pitching probables and notes about the series:
7/22/11 7:10 PM
ATL Jurrjens (12-3, 2.26 ERA) vs. CIN Arroyo (7-8, 5.57 ERA)
7/23/11 4:10 PM
ATL Lowe (6-7, 4.37 ERA) vs. CIN Bailey (4-4, 3.74 ERA)
7/24/11 8:05 PM ESPN
ATL Beachy (3-2, 3.75 ERA) vs. CIN Willis (0-1, 3.38 ERA)
-ATL leads the season series 2-1.
-Run-ning away. Atlanta has the 2nd best run differential in all of MLB at +55.
-Claiming the Central. Atlanta has the best winning percentage of any team against NL Central opponents this year at 15-7 (If you're wondering the Reds are 3-7 vs. the NL East).
-Slamming the door shut. Braves closer Craig Kimbrel is tied for the NL lead in saves with 29.
-Chief Jurrjens. Jair Jurrjens owns the most wins (12) and the second best ERA in the NL.
-Great American success. ATL catcher Brian McCann has batted .371 with 8 HR's and 17 RBI's in 18 lifetime games at GABP.
-Tomahawkin' the Braves. Despite owning a 5.70 ERA in 13 starts vs. the Braves, Bronson Arroyo is 6-3 against them.
-Don't steal. Atlanta's 34 stolen bases on the year is tied for the least in the National League.
-A tough out. Joey Votto has reached base safely in 9 out of 15 plate appearances against Atlanta this season.