It appears that NL hitters have begun to figure out Atlanta’s Ben Sheets in his return from Tommy John surgery. Sheets started brilliantly but is 1-2 with a 5.12 ERA and just eight strikeouts in his past three starts as he takes the mound Friday night in San Francisco. Bet on Braves-Giants and every game at WagerWeb.com.
Colorado at Chicago Cubs – Rockies LHP Drew Pomeranz (1-7, 4.87) vs. Cubs RHP Jeff Samardzija (8-11, 4.17): Pomeranz battled through four innings and 76 pitches without good command Sunday, his fifth straight start of four innings or more. He allowed just two runs (one earned) on three hits and four walks (one intentional) while striking out three. … Samardzija is coming off a loss to the Reds in which he gave up four runs over five innings. He will be happy to be back at Wrigley, where he’s 4-3 with a 3.36 ERA in 10 starts. This has been a tough month: He’s 1-3 with a 4.07 ERA in August.
Milwaukee at Pittsburgh – Brewers RHP Mike Fiers (6-6, 2.90) vs. Pirates LHP Wandy Rodriguez (8-12, 4.00): Since flirting with a perfect game on Aug. 7, Fiers has pitched seven innings and allowed 12 runs in his last two starts. He gave up two home runs for just the second time this season in a loss on Saturday. … Rodriguez was supposed to start Monday of this week but had to make a bullpen appearance in Sunday’s 19-inning game against the Cardinals. He got the win with two scoreless innings. The lefty faced Milwaukee while still with Houston on July 7 and blanked the Brewers over 5.1 innings.
Washington at Philadelphia – Nationals RHP Edwin Jackson (7-8, 3.69) vs. Phillies RHP Kyle Kendrick (6-9, 4.20): Jackson had one bad inning, and it proved costly as the Mets blanked the Nationals, 2-0, at Nationals Park on Saturday. The bump came in the top of the seventh. David Wright led off with a walk, and Ike Davis then hit his 22nd home run. … Kendrick allowed three hits, one walk and tied a career-high with seven strikeouts Sunday against Milwaukee, extending his scoreless streak to 15 innings. He threw 115 pitches with 80 strikes.
Houston at NY Mets – Astros RHP Jordan Lyles (2-10, 5.70) vs. Mets LHP Jon Niese (10-6, 3.49): Lyles allowed seven runs (five earned) on eight hits in only four innings against the Diamondbacks on Saturday. He has been a disaster on the road with a 0-6 record and 7.58 in nine starts. … Niese was brilliant in his last outing against the Nationals, striking out seven and pitching into the eighth. The Mets will keep a close eye on Niese down the stretch, knowing he has yet to submit a full, healthy, successful September in his career.
St. Louis at Cincinnati – Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn (13-5, 3.73) vs. Reds RHP Mat Latos (10-3, 3.56): Twenty-one of the 56 earned runs Lynn has allowed have come in the first inning, though the righty got through the frame unscathed in his last start. Still, Lynn has not been as sharp and has not regularly pitched as deep since the All-Star break. … Latos gave up four runs in eight innings but only two were earned vs. the Cubs on Sunday as poor defense and three errors cost him a decision. Latos is unbeaten over his last six starts and has been working better with catcher Ryan Hanigan.
San Diego at Arizona – Padres LHP Eric Stults (3-2, 3.02) vs. Diamondbacks LHP Patrick Corbin (5-4, 3.60): Stults gave up five runs in six innings in a no-decision against the Giants on Saturday. That broke a streak of six straight outings of giving up two runs or less. Stults had given up just one run in 13 innings over two starts prior to that outing. … Corbin is 3-0 in four starts since rejoining the D-backs from Triple-A Reno. His last time out, he allowed four runs over seven innings in a win against the Astros. Corbin allowed one run in a 4 1/3-inning relief stint against the Padres this year.
Miami at LA Dodgers – Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi (4-8, 4.03) vs. Dodgers RHP Chad Billingsley (10-9, 3.44): The Marlins acquired Eovaldi from the Dodgers on July 25 as part of the Hanley Ramirez trade. The right-hander was solid his last time out, beating Colorado, working 6 2/3 innings. He did walk four, though. … Billingsley has been a new pitcher since the All-Star break. The righty has won six straight and has allowed only six runs in 41 2/3 innings during that stretch. He threw seven scoreless innings in his most recent start in Atlanta.
Atlanta at San Francisco – Braves RHP Ben Sheets (4-3, 3.07) vs. Giants RHP Ryan Vogelsong (10-7, 2.85): After allowing just two home runs in 38 innings this year, Sheets gave up a career-high four in six innings Saturday. After a brilliant return to the Major Leagues in July, Sheets has struggled in back-to-back starts, both losses. … Vogelsong has compiled a 5-4 record with a 2.29 ERA at AT&T Park this year. His ERA has risen from a NL-best 2.27 during his current two-start mini-slump. Of the 17 hits he allowed in his last two outings, 15 were singles.