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Cleveland at Atlanta

Venue: Turner Field
  •  

Barring a stunning collapse, the Atlanta Braves are cruising to a division title.

The Cleveland Indians don't have the same luxury.

With a critical series at Detroit looming, the visiting Indians seek a jolt at the plate as they attempt to avoid being swept by the Braves on Thursday night.

Atlanta (80-52) owns the best record in baseball and leads the NL East by 13 games over Washington, seemingly all but assuring a return to the postseason for the third time in four years.

Cleveland's playoff hopes are much more uncertain, as it sits four games back of Oakland for the AL's second wild-card spot and 5 1/2 behind Central-leading Detroit.

The Indians' wild-card deficit has doubled in the last two days as the A's continue to beat the Tigers. Cleveland (71-61) lost the opener of this series 2-0 to the Braves before falling 3-2 on Wednesday after Chris Johnson's walk-off hit.

The Indians are 0 for 14 with runners in scoring position in this series.

"We're getting good pitching, and because of that we're staying in games and we're giving ourselves a chance," manager Terry Francona said. "But we're not hitting a bunch. It becomes more glaring when you don't get in runners in scoring position with two outs, which we haven't done."

Solving those offensive issues may be imperative since the Indians open a three-game set in Detroit on Friday.

Michael Brantley, though, is doing his part by getting three hits and two stolen bases in the last two games to snap his 1-for-27 slump over the previous seven.

The Indians' rotation has posted a 2.27 ERA over its last eight games, a positive trend Ubaldo Jimenez (9-8, 3.95) will try to continue.

He's become all too familiar with Cleveland's woes at the plate. He's compiled a 2.86 ERA over four August starts, but is 1-3 after getting six total runs of support.

The right hander had a season-high 10 strikeouts Friday while allowing two runs in six innings of a 5-1 loss to Minnesota.

"I don't know if he got mad, but he reared back and competed and let it go," manager Terry Francona said. "I thought (Friday) was the best stuff he had all year. He was really good."

This is Jimenez's first start against the Braves since July 2011, and his second start in Atlanta since throwing a no-hitter at Turner Field on April 17, 2010, with Colorado.

While the Braves aren't dealing with much drama in the standings, they had their share the last time Kris Medlen (10-12, 3.74) took the mound.

Medlen was critical of manager Fredi Gonzalez, who lifted him two batters into the seventh Friday in St. Louis. Though Medlen had thrown just 78 pitches, he gave up a go-ahead homer in the sixth and a double and single to start the next inning in an eventual 3-1 loss.

"I thought I was cruising pretty good," Medlen said Friday. "I hadn't had to battle yet but I wasn't given the opportunity, so I guess I'm voicing the fact that I didn't appreciate that."

Medlen apologized to Gonzalez a day later.

"I'm a competitor and I want to be out there," the right-hander said. "That's all I really told (Gonzalez) I was trying to say. ... It wasn't a big deal. He said whatever he said and it's done. It's not a distraction or anything. It was just me venting to the wrong people."

Medlen will now try to focus on his first meeting with the Indians. He's 1-2 with a 5.06 ERA in four interleague starts this season.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Probable Starters

Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP
2013 stats
134.1 Innings Pitched 154.0
9-8 Wins-Losses 10-12
3.95 Earned Run Average 3.74
73 Walks 39
133 Strikeouts 118
99 Pitches Per Start 95
Career vs. opponent
47.2 Innings Pitched -
3-4 Wins-Losses ---
3.78 Earned Run Average -

Kris Medlen, RHP
Weather
weather image  Mostly sunny. Hot.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
90°F72°F11mph/NW55%3%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Cleveland3rd AL Central8074.51965-5 W 1
Atlanta2nd NL East7678.494142-8 L 2
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Kris Medlen
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Bourn110001.000
Aviles31011.333
Albers000000
Allen000000
Brantley000000
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Ubaldo Jimenez
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Johnson32000.667
Laird42001.500
Janish52000.400
Upton114001.364
McCann227034.318
 
Injuries
Cleveland
PlayerInjury
J. KipnisHamstring
N. MorganKnee
R. RaburnKnee
N. SwisherKnee
Z. WaltersIntercostal
Atlanta
PlayerInjury
B. BeachyElbow
P. BeatoElbow
G. FloydElbow
E. GattisIllness
C. GearrinElbow
J. HeywardThumb
K. MedlenElbow
S. SimmonsShoulder
J. VentersElbow
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
Apr 8ATLNYM 4-0Colon Harang 
Apr 9ATLATL 4-3Santana Wheeler 
Apr 10ATLNYM 6-4Torres Avilan 
Apr 18NYMATL 6-0Harang Niese 
Apr 19NYMATL 7-5Santana Colon 
Apr 20NYMNYM 4-3Valverde Schlosser 
Jun 30ATLATL 5-3Varvaro Familia 
Jul 1ATLATL 5-4Simmons Matsuzaka 
Jul 2ATLATL 3-1Teheran deGrom 
Jul 7NYMNYM 4-3Torres Varvaro 
Jul 8NYMNYM 8-3deGrom Teheran 
Jul 9NYMNYM 4-1Gee Santana 
Jul 10NYMATL 3-1Harang Colon 
Aug 26NYMNYM 3-2Gee Wood 
Aug 27NYMATL 3-2Teheran Wheeler 
Aug 28NYMATL 6-1Minor Niese 
Sep 19ATLNYM 5-0Wheeler Teheran 
Sep 20ATLNYM 4-2Niese Minor 
Sep 21ATL 1:35 PM EDT