Atlanta Braves starting pitcher David Hale (57) pitches during the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Reds at Atlanta Braves preview: David Hale pitching for his job?

After picking up a series-opening 5-4 win against the Cincinnati Reds last night, the Atlanta Braves will be looking to clinch the series today.

At this point (early) in the season, the Braves have lost just one series (to the Mets) and are cruising along nicely with a 2.5 game lead atop the NL East division.

In last night’s game, Justin Upton got the Braves on board with a three-run homer in the first inning. Two insurance runs scored in the second and third frames proved to be enough for Atlanta, as the bullpen came in after 6.2 solid innings from Ervin Santana to seal the deal. Santana picked up his fourth win of the season and is a perfect 4-0—if you actually cared about pitcher wins.

Today, David Hale is going to be searching for his first “win” of the season as he squares off against the Reds’ Mike Leake.

Hale’s done a solid job preventing runs (along with every other ATL starter) this season and is sporting a 2.93 ERA heading into this one. However, he’s walked his fair share of batters (nine, in just 15.1 innings) and his other numbers suggest that he’s been a bit lucky.

Leake on the other hand is sporting a 2-1 record, 2.49 ERA and 2.67 K/BB ratio. Despite that, he’s already let up three homers in his 28.1 innings.

Offensively, for Atlanta eyes should be on Jason Heyward, as the uber-talented outfielder is still struggling at the plate. The leadoff man is hitting just .198/.309/.296 so far, and it would be great to see him flip the switch in the batter’s box because he’s done fine everywhere else and still ranks No. 5 on the team in fWAR.

Here is a look at the particulars for Saturday:

Date: April 26, 2014

Start Time: 7:10 p.m.

TV Channel: Fox Sports South, MLB Network

Radio: 680 AM/106.7 FM (Local in Atlanta), Full list of Local Affiliates

Live Stream: MLB.tv (Click Here, $)

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Tags: Atlanta Braves

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