ATLANTA -- A rematch between two veteran right-handers is on tap when the San Francisco Giants meet the Atlanta Braves in their first visit to new SunTrust Park.
The series opener features Atlanta's R.A. Dickey (4-5, 5.35 ERA) against San Francisco's Johnny Cueto (5-6, 4.57 ERA). The same pitchers faced off on May 28, with Cueto and the Giants coming away with a 7-1 victory.
Cueto pitched six strong innings in that outing, allowing one run on six hits, with eight strikeouts. On the other side, Dickey struggled to go six innings in that meeting and allowed seven runs (six earned) on six hits and five walks.
That turned out to be one of Cueto's best starts of the season. In his three appearances since, Cueto has gone 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA. He survived only 5 2/3 innings against Kansas City on June 14 when he allowed five runs on 10 hits, three of them home runs, and three walks.
"For him to give up three home runs, that's not Johnny," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said after the game. "Pitch count was up there. He was just off a little bit."
Dickey has been even more inconsistent. He is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in his three starts since facing the Giants. After his best effort of the season, a seven-inning stint against the Phillies in which he allowed one run and struck out a season-high eight batters, Dickey came back to allow eight runs in five innings against the Nationals. He gave up back-to-back homers in the first inning against Washington and was knocked out of the game without retiring a batter in the sixth.
"I made some really good pitches that inning and they just found some holes," Dickey said afterward. "And then I made a mistake and got punished."
In eight career starts against the Braves, Cueto is 2-3 with a 3.58 ERA. He has 43 strikeouts in 50 1/3 total innings against Atlanta. Dickey is 2-2 with a 3.79 ERA in six career starts against San Francisco, with 25 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings
The series will match teams with pitching staffs that have struggled all season. The Braves (31-37) rank 11th in the National League in ERA (4.69), 12th in runs allowed, 11th in home runs allowed, and 15th in strikeouts. The Giants (26-45) are 10th in ERA (4.90), 10th in runs allowed, 15th in hits allowed and 10th in strikeouts.
This will be the second series between the teams this season. The Giants took two of three when the teams played in San Francisco May 26-28.
The Braves won two of three games in their series against the Miami Marlins last weekend, both wins coming in the last inning on walk-off singles by second baseman Brandon Phillips. The win put Atlanta into a second-place tie with the New York Mets in the N.L. East, 10 1/2 games behind Washington.
The Giants suffered a four-game sweep in Colorado and lost on Nolan Arenado's three-run homer in the ninth inning on Sunday by a 7-5 score. San Francisco has lost six straight and is in last place in the N.L. West, 19 1/2 games behind the Rockies.