Braves pitcher Kris Medlen started Friday’s game at Turner Field against the Giants. The Braves are back in Atlanta after dropping five of seven games in Los Angeles and San Diego.
ATLANTA — The Braves are definitely glad to be home. Even better, the worst of their road travel for the season is already over.
Going into a weekend series against the San Francisco Giants to open an eight-game homestand, the Braves have already played 38 of their 81 road games and don’t have to head out West again.
That’s good, because the Braves are just 18-20 away from Turner Field and have dropped 20 of their last 31 road games after going 2-5 on a trip to Los Angeles and San Diego.
In contrast, the Braves (39-27) have the best home record in the majors at 21-7 and take a five-game winning streak at Turner Field into the series with the Giants.
The Braves’ 28 home games are the fewest in the majors, making their large lead in the National League East even more impressive.
Of course, the Braves have really taken advantage of the games they have had at home.
Entering Friday night’s game, the Braves pitchers have posted a 2.21 ERA at Turner Field — by far the best for any team at home.
On the road, though, the Braves have a 4.01 ERA and the opponent batting average is .258 (compared to .206 at home). The Braves have given up 19 homers at home and 38 on the road.
At home, Paul Maholm is 4-1 with a 1.64 ERA and Tim Hudson is 3-0 with a 2.39 ERA. On the road, Maholm is 3-4 with a 4.89 ERA and Hudson is 1-6 with a 6.07 ERA.
The only Braves starter who has been better on the road than at home is Mike Minor — and he has been very good wherever he pitches.
Minor leads the Braves with an 8-2 record and a 2.44 ERA, is 6-1 with a 2.38 ERA on the road and 2-1 with a 2.52 ERA at home. He didn’t face the Giants in a four-game series at San Francisco in mid-May.
Beachy struggles: Brandon Beachy did not have the crisp outing he was looking for in the final scheduled outing of his minor league rehabilitation assignment Thursday night. He gave up three runs, two earned, and four walks in three innings for Triple-A Gwinnett at Rochester.
Beachy pitched behind in the count for much of the outing and had thrown 53 pitches through the first two innings. Of his 69 pitches over three innings, only 38 were for strikes. He gave up three hits, including a home run, and struck out four. After a leadoff walk in the third inning, he struck out two of the last three batters he faced. He threw 10 of his 16 pitches for strikes in the third inning.
The Braves have targeted Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Mets for Beachy’s return, three days shy of the one-year anniversary of his Tommy John surgery (June 21, 2012).
As the Braves finished their West Coast swing Wednesday in San Diego and headed home, no decision had been made about how the Braves would handle their rotation once Beachy returns.
“There’s a lot of moving parts, as far as how you make it work,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said. “(Manager) Fredi (Gonzalez) and (pitching coach) Roger (McDowell) and I have talked about how the overriding decision will be based on what’s best for our team. Nothing else. When we get to the point where we’re close to that and have to make that decision, we’ll do what’s best for the team.”
Inconsistency with command is common for pitchers coming back from Tommy John reconstruction surgery. Beachy struck out eight while throwing 60 of his 94 pitches for strikes in his previous outing for Gwinnett, giving up one run in five innings on June 8.
Beachy gave up eight earned runs over five rehab starts in Rome, Mississippi and Gwinnett combined. He struck out 22 in 22 innings and walked 12.