Rockies-Braves Preview

On one hand, Shelby Miller is on pace to join elite company for the traditionally pitching-rich Atlanta Braves. On the other, he's nearing franchise infamy.

Miller is hoping to get some run support as he tries to avoid the single-season club record for consecutive starts without a win Wednesday night against the visiting Colorado Rockies.

The right-hander has been outstanding in his first season with the Braves (54-72), allowing two earned runs or fewer in 19 of 25 starts.

Miller (5-10, 2.50 ERA) is on pace to become only the third Atlanta pitcher to finish with a 2.50 ERA or lower while making at least 25 starts since 1990. Greg Maddux accomplished that five times and Tom Glavine did it once during their illustrious tenures.

The All-Star, though, has dropped nine decisions during a 17-start winless streak in which he's had an MLB-low 1.55 run-support average. It's the franchise's third-longest such stretch since 1966 behind Carl Morton's 22-game streak in '75-76 and Jo-Jo Reyes' 18-gamer in '08-09.

He's also tied with Morton and Huck Betts (1935) for the longest single-season drought since 1914.

"It's tough," right fielder Nick Markakis told MLB's official website. "It's frustrating for him and for us. We just got to keep plugging away."

The Braves provided three runs for Miller on Friday, but hurt him with some shoddy defense in a 5-3 loss at Wrigley Field. He allowed five runs - three earned - and struck out eight over 6 1-3 innings.

The 24-year-old has been particularly good at Turner Field, posting a 2.01 ERA in 12 starts. However, he hasn't received any runs there in five of his last seven outings.

Miller gave up a season-high five earned runs and 11 hits over five innings in a 5-3 loss at Coors Field on July 10. But he's 2-0 with an 0.60 ERA in two career home starts versus the Rockies.

Carlos Gonzalez homered off Miller at Coors, but could miss his second straight game after hurting his right knee Monday. Nolan Arenado is just 1 for 9 in the matchup.

Colorado (50-74) batted .158 while totaling eight runs during a five-game road losing streak before DJ LeMahieu went 3 for 4 with three RBIs in Tuesday's 5-1 win that evened this series. Charlie Blackmon extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a first-inning single.

The Rockies are turning to former Atlanta farmhand Yohan Flande (3-1, 3.94) in the finale as they try to win back-to-back games for only the second time since the All-Star break.

The left-hander is 2-0 with a 3.90 ERA in five starts since joining the rotation. He worked a career-high seven innings Thursday, yielding two runs and three hits in a 3-2 win over Washington.

"He's not scared - that's one of the biggest things," manager Walt Weiss said. "He attacks the strike zone, and the ball moves."

Flande will get his first look at an Atlanta team that went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position Tuesday in its eighth loss in nine games. Third baseman Adonis Garcia made three errors.

Markakis stayed hot with two hits and the only RBI, leaving him with a .433 average and six RBIs over his last seven games. Cameron Maybin, who has four straight two-hit home games, is likely to be back in the lineup after getting Tuesday off.


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