The Atlanta Braves didn’t seem too overly concerned about getting swept. Opening an extended homestand likely gives them plenty of optimism.
The NL East-leading Braves look for their sixth straight home win Friday night when they open a three-game set against a Detroit Tigers team that hasn’t won a series in an NL park in two years.
The Braves had won 19 of 25 prior to their three-game series in Chicago, but now face their longest skid since a season-long nine-game slide April 21-29.
The Braves begin this nine-game stretch at Turner Field with the majors’ best home record at 24-7, winning five of six against visiting AL teams.
The Tigers, meanwhile, are 2-5 on the road in interleague play this season, and they haven’t won a series in an NL park since taking two of three versus San Diego from June 20-22, 2008.
Detroit swept the Braves at Turner Field from June 22-24, 2007, in the teams’ last matchup, and have won five straight in this series.
Atlanta will look to snap that skid with Kris Medlen(notes) (4-1, 3.33 ERA) on the mound. Since being inserted into the rotation for the injured Jair Jurrjens(notes) (strained left hamstring), Medlen is 3-0 with a 3.67 ERA in eight starts.
The Braves have won each of his last five outings, including a 5-4 victory over Kansas City on Saturday when Medlen gave up four runs and five hits over 6 1/3 innings.
Medlen has never faced the Tigers, who will counter with Andy Oliver(notes). The 22-year-old left-hander will make his major league debut in place of Rick Porcello(notes), who was sent to Triple-A Toledo on Sunday. Drafted in the second round last season, Oliver went 6-4 with a 3.61 ERA for Double-A Erie and has struck out 70 and walked 25 in 77 1/3 innings.
“This kid, he’s got good stuff,” Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski told MLB.com. “There are not many pitchers that have his quality of stuff. I mean, his fastball is way above average. He’s got quality, and now he’s been able to incorporate those other pitches.”
Oliver will face an Atlanta club that is averaging 5.9 runs and batting .297 while winning 19 of 22 at home.