The Braves and the Reds owned six of the nine best starting-pitcher ERAs entering this weekend's three-game series at Turner Field, and Sunday's matchup between Julio Teheran and Johnny Cueto is the marquee showdown.
The aces square off with impressive streaks on the line. Cueto has registered six straight quality starts and allowed only one run and struck out 16 in back-to-back complete-game victories against the Pirates.
"It feels good when you throw good against the same team the way I did," Cueto said following his most recent start. "All of my pitches were down. Everything was down and everything was under control except for a few pitches I could not control."
Pirates second baseman Neil Walker was especially impressed with Cueto's shutout of Pittsburgh on April 16. Cueto fanned a career-high 12 and also thoroughly impressed Red catcher Brayan Pena in the victory.
"He was mixing that cutter and was unbelievable," Pena said. "He was using both sides of the plate. He was throwing front-door cutters. He was throwing back-door cutters. It made his changeup and sinker even better. He's been pitching very good lately."
Teheran also tossed nine scoreless innings on April 16, limiting the Phillies to only three hits in the Braves' 1-0 victory in Philadelphia. It was the first shutout by an opposing pitcher in the history of Citizens Bank Park.
"The whole game, I was just trying to throw strikes, and all of my pitches were working," Teheran said of his historic gem. "I used my two-seamer for lefties and it was tough to hit. I wanted my first career complete game. I wanted to stay focused."
Teheran owns a 1.80 ERA and has yet to give up more than two earned runs this season. He was in line for his third win on April 21 against the Marlins, but Craig Kimbrel blew the save in an eventual 4-2 Braves win in 10 innings.
Evan Gattis hit a walk-off, two-run home run to help Atlanta improve to 24-11 in games started by Teheran since the beginning of the 2013 season.
"These late-inning heroics overshadow what Julio did," Gonzalez said following Teheran's seven innings of one-run ball against Miami. "He gave us seven strong innings and he was in line for a win, and usually we convert that win."
Braves: No place like home for Justin Upton
Justin Upton cannot be stopped at Turner Field. A three-hit game on Saturday upped his home batting average this season to .486 (18-for-37). He has recorded a hit in his first at-bat in six of the past eight home games.
He has also shown off his power stroke in Atlanta, hitting six of his seven home runs in 2014 at home. Upton has also struck out only nine times in 43 plate appearances at Turner Field compared to 23 strikeouts in 54 plate appearances on the road.
• B.J. Upton recorded his 1,000th career hit on Saturday night with an infield single in the first against Reds starter Mike Leake. He finished 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.
• Jason Heyward's six-game hitting streak was snapped on Saturday night as he finished 0-for-4 with a strikeout. He batted .346 (9-for-26) during the streak.
• Meanwhile, Andrelton Simmons finished 1-for-3 to extend his current hitting streak to five games. He is batting .353 (6-for-17) during the streak and has hit safely in 16 of his past 18 games.
Reds: Chapman throws live batting practice
Cincinnati closer Aroldis Chapman threw his second live batting practice on Saturday afternoon at Turner Field. The left-hander threw 43 pitches in two innings without a protective screen.
Chapman is on the comeback trail after he suffered fractures of his eye and nose as well as a mild concussion when a Salvador Perez line drive hit him in the face on March 19 in a game against Kansas City.
• Neftali Soto made his first career MLB start on Saturday night, replacing Reds third baseman Todd Frazier, who left Friday's game with tightness in his left groin. Soto finished 0-for-3.
• Ryan Ludwick robbed Freddie Freeman of a home run in the third inning on Saturday night. Ludwick's play, followed by back-to-back home runs by Justin Upton and Gattis, prevented the Braves from hitting back-to-back-to-back home runs for the second time this season.
• Craig Kimbrel recorded his 147th career save on Saturday night, moving him within seven of John Smoltz's Braves franchise record of 154.
• Ryan Doumit is batting .273 (6-for-22) with a home run, a double, two walks and eight strikeouts against Cueto.
• Jay Bruce is one RBI away from reaching 500 for his career. He went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer against Teheran in an 8-4 Cincinnati win on July 14, 2013, at Turner Field.
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.