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SunTrust Park, Atlanta, Georgia  Attendance: 23,428

Red-hot Acuna questionable as Braves await Rockies

According to STATS
According to STATS

Colorado Rockies at Atlanta Braves

  1. Colorado has won four of its last five, including a split of a two-game series in Houston against the defending champs. The Rockies have gone 13-10 (.565) against the NL East this year with an 8-5 record against the division on the road.
  2. Atlanta has won five in a row and has gone 14-4 (.778) overall since July 29. The team has struggled to a 9-14 (.391) record against the NL West, winning only five of 14 games against the division at home.
  3. Nolan Arenado is slashing .326/.420/.535 thus far in August, and is one of 11 National Leaguers with a .300+/.400+/.500+ line in the month (min. 45 PA). Arenado is a career .310 hitter in August, his highest mark of any month.
  4. Ronald Acuna, Jr. has hit eight home runs in his last nine games, joining Matt Carpenter as the only hitters in MLB to accomplish this in 2018. Over these nine games, Acuna is slashing .471/.526/1.235, with 15 RBI, 13 runs, three walks, two steals and one hit by pitch to compliment the eight homers.
  5. Jon Gray has been excellent in his last two road starts, going at least seven innings in each and allowing no more than two earned runs. In his last two starts against NL East teams, Gray has picked up a total of 22 strikeouts.
  6. Julio Teheran has made 185 career starts, all for the Braves -- 111 have been quality starts (min. 6.0 IP, 3 or fewer ER). Since the team moved to Atlanta, only four Braves pitchers have more quality starts through 185 starts with the team -- Greg Maddux (150), Tim Hudson (120), Ron Reed (115) and Tom Glavine (112).
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 8/16/2018 thru 8/19/2018

The Colorado Rockies may not have to immediately worry about how to handle one of the National League's hottest hitters when they come to Atlanta for a four-game series that starts Thursday.

The status of Braves rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. isn't expected to be determined until closer to game time after he was hit by a pitch on the forearm above his left elbow and had to subsequently leave Wednesday's game.

Acuna had homered in five consecutive games, the last three to lead off the contest, when he was nailed by Miami starter Jose Urena on the first pitch of Wednesday's series finale.

After a pair of bench-clearing situations, the umpires decided to eject Urena. But that didn't help Acuna, who ran the bases and tried the play the outfield before leaving the game in pain in the top of the second.

"It's a shame," Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. "He's sore. His forearm, where he got hit, was cramping. They're checking him out. We'll know tomorrow."

Acuna had been one of the hottest players in the league. He had hit and scored in eight straight games, going 16-for-34 (.471) with a 1.749 OPS over that stretch that began Aug. 8. Since moving to the leadoff spot in the first game after the All-Star Game, Acuna is hitting .358 with 12 homers, 25 runs scored, 24 RBIs and an .821 slugging percentage.

"It was obvious that pitch was intended to hit him," Snitker said. "There's no reason for a young man to be hit like that when all he was doing is playing the game."

Nearly as hot for the Rockies is shortstop Trevor Story, who is batting .331 (82- for-247) since June 1. He leads the National League in total bases (250) and is among the league leaders in extra-base hits (63), doubles (33), RBIs (83) and home runs (25). Story has a 12-game hitting streak.

The Rockies also expect Nolan Arenado to return to third base. He has rested his sore right shoulder the last two days in Houston, where he was the designated hitter. Arenado, who hit his 30th homer on Wednesday, is eager to get back on the field.

"I should be back in there tomorrow unless I wake up really sore," he said Wednesday.

The Braves (68-51) are 17 games over .500 for the first time this season and have won five straight games. Colorado (64-56) saw its four-game winning streak end in a 12-1 loss to Houston on Wednesday.

The pitching matchup for the series opener features Atlanta right-hander Julio Teheran (8-7, 4.33 ERA) against Colorado right-hander Jon Gray (9-7, 4.81). The Braves won two of three from Colorado when the clubs met in Denver in early April.

Teheren is coming off a solid six-inning start against the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday, when he allowed one run on two hits. He has allowed three or fewer runs in his last three starts.

In nine career starts against the Rockies, Teheran is 5-1 with a 2.31 ERA. He was 1-0 with a 1.26 ERA in two starts against Colorado last year. He did not pitch against the Rockies when the clubs met for three games in April.

Gray will be making his 23rd start of the season and is facing the Braves for the first time in 2018. The Rockies have won each of his last seven starts, during which time he's gone 3-0 with a 2.91 ERA. Since being recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque on July 14, Gray is 2-0 with a 2.29 in five starts.

Gray is 3-0 with a 1.04 ERA in four career starts against the Braves. He has not allowed a run against Atlanta in his last two starts.

Updated August 16, 2018

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