With runs tough to come by thus far this season, the Braves have relied on their starting pitching. And manager Fredi Gonzalez will have right-hander Ervin Santana going against D-backs left-hander Wade Miley in the second game of the three-game weekend series at Chase Field on Saturday night.
With season-ending elbow injuries and Tommy John surgery for Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen near the end of Spring Training, the Braves went out and signed free agent Santana, who is 5-2 with a 4.10 ERA.
"You have to give all the credit to our front office," Gonzalez said. "Out of the necessity of two guys going down, we went out and got the best available pitcher there was in the market in Santana and he's done very well for us."
Miley, in his third full season, has been erratic. He's 3-6 with 4.85 ERA, far off his rookie 2012 season when he won 16 games and the D-backs took the National League West title.
"I'm just going to go out and try to compete," Miley said. "I haven't done my job throughout the year holding leads, or when we score runs, keeping the other team off the board. I'm just going to go out and try to compete and give us a chance to win, whether I give up six runs, if we got seven, I don't care. If we got three runs, I can only give up two. That's it. That's what I'm looking for."
D-backs: Miley by the numbers
After giving up four home runs against the Reds on Sunday, Miley is second in among National League pitchers with 14 home runs allowed.
The D-backs' 27-year-old left-hander hasn't given up fewer than three runs in a game since giving up two in a win against the White Sox on May 10.
Miley is looking to turn his run of bad luck around against the Braves on Saturday.
However, Miley has fared poorly against the Braves in limited time against them. In three games (two starts), he has an 11.84 ERA against Atlanta, giving up 14 earned runs in 10 2/3 innings. It's the worst he has performed against any team he's thrown more than two innings against.
Despite his struggles, Miley has been fairly successful in keeping opposing bats off the ball. In his last two games, he has struck out a combined 20 batters, including a career-high 11 punch outs against the Padres on May 27.
Braves: Offense up and down
The Braves came into the series 23rd in the Majors with a .240 team batting average and 29th with 199 runs scored. Yet, they were tied for first with the Marlins in the National League East.
At times, the Braves have trouble scoring runs.
"Sometimes we do and sometimes we don't," Gonzalez said. "It is what it is. I don't even know what day it is. Today is Friday, so the afternoon game on Wednesday, they were asking if I was frustrated. Not really. Sometimes we score runs and sometimes we don't, but when we do we usually score a lot."
The game Gonzalez was talking about was a 2-0 home loss to the Mariners and Hisashi Iwakuma.
The Braves have only scored in double digits once this season, a 10-2 win over the Nationals at Turner Field on April 13.
"It's totally random and that's why you don't get frustrated," Gonzalez said. "It's the makeup of the lineup. It didn't start with this year. If you look at the history of some of our guys, they have a tendency to do that stuff."
• D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said he plans to start Didi Gregorius at second base on Saturday. Gregorius has played only 2 2/3 innings at second base in the Major Leagues, but worked at position in his last stint at Triple-A Reno.
• In six games vs. the D-backs last year, Braves left-fielder and former Arizona star Justin Upton batted .409 (9-for-22) with a two-run homer.
• The D-backs' winning percentage of .563 (18-14) is the third best in the National League since April 30.
• Craig Kimbrel recorded his 155th save on Friday night and passed John Smoltz as the franchise leader in that department.
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.