May 29, 2011 – By Scott
The Atlanta Braves got off to a rocky start in their weekend series with the Cincinnati Reds dropping the opener 5-1. They responded on Saturday with an extra innings 7-6 win and now head into their final game of the series on Sunday night in MLB action.
The Braves (29-24) will send one of the league’s hottest pitchers to the mound on Sunday in Jair Jurrjens. The right-handed pitcher is 6-1 with a 1.56 ERA this season and has been in total control all season. He suffered his only loss of the season May 19 to Arizona but responded in fine form Tuesday against Pittsburgh in almost eight innings of work in the Braves’ 2-0 win.
“I think out of (his) pitches, there were maybe one or two that didn’t hit the mark where (catcher Brian) McCann set up,” Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “So when you have that kind of command with all your pitches, you’re going to be successful.”
With a win, Jurrjens could put himself in a tie for the most wins this season in Major League Baseball but he will face a team he has not had much success against. In four career starts against the Reds, he is 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA. He will need to find a way to turn this around as he faces a Reds offensive that ranks in the top 10 in all offensive categories, including 1st in runs scored.
The Reds (27-26) will start Johnny Cueto against Atlanta. Cueto is 2-1 with a 2.19 ERA and in his last start Tuesday against the Phillies, Cueto allowed three runs for the third consecutive game and was pulled in the sixth inning. In limited action against the Braves, he is 1-0 with a 3.44 ERA in three starts against Atlanta in his career.
Cincinnati has won just 2 of their last 11 games and MLB sportsbooks feel this downward spiral will continue and have Atlanta favored in Sunday Night Baseball action. The Braves have their moneyline set at -132 while the Reds are at +122.