After stumbling to the All-Star break, the D-Backs will face the Braves, who close the first half of the season with reasons to believe they can spend the next two months fighting for a postseason spot.
These two teams will open the second half when they meet on Friday at the start of the three-game series at SunTrust Park. The D-Backs came Sunday as seven losses in the last 10 games, but they have a comfortable lead in the NL wild card. The Braves had 13 of the last 20 games before Sunday and were to seven games of the second wild card of the league.
Complete Game Coverage
R.A. Dickey will be in charge to get on the mound by the Braves to start the series. Dickey found a better feel to his knuckle ball and showed some flashes of the performance he had during the 2012 season when he won the National League Cy Young. In his last four starts of the first half he had an ERA of 1.00. The 42-year-old veteran had struggled at SunTrust Park in the early stages but he has allowed only two clean runs in the last 21 innings he has pitched at home.
Taijuan Walker will be the opener of the D-Backs. Walker (6-4, with 3.65 ERA) was punished by the Reds in his opening Saturday, allowing three runs in the first inning, a 7-0 loss. This will be the first time he faces the Braves.
There is not much difference between the first and second half records for Walker during his career, he has left a whip and a lower effectiveness after the All-Star, and his percentage of cattle is 58.8 percent in the openings he has Made in the second half.