Game Preview: Atlanta Braves vs. Cincinnati Reds (Game 1)

Friday, July 30 – 7:10 (SportSouth)
Atlanta Braves (58-43) vs. Cincinnati Reds (57-46)

Kris Medlen
(3.57 ERA, 3.71 xFIP, 1.74 BB/9, 6.96 K/9, 9 SwStr%)
(Career vs. CIN: First start)
Johnny Cueto
(3.18 ERA, 4.42 xFIP, 2.96 BB/9, 6.43 K/9, 9.2 SwStr%)
(Career vs. ATL: 2 GS, 1-0, 2.08 ERA, 3 BB, 12 K)

Braves vs. Cueto:
Troy Glaus: 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI, BB
Omar Infante: 0-3, K
Chipper Jones: 0-3, K
Brian McCann: 1-3, HR, RBI
Martin Prado: 1-2, 2B, RBI
Melky Cabrera: 0-2, K

Reds vs. Medlen:

What to Look For:
Medlen getting back on track. He allowed five runs in six innings in his return to the rotation against the Marlins after struggling some in the bullpen. With a start under his belt in the second half, I expect things to return to normal for him. He will need to against Cueto, who is pitching well despite walking as many as he’s striking out lately. He pitched eight shutout innings against the Astros in his last start, but has walked 12 and struck out 15 in four starts this month. The Braves have the ability to get to Cueto if they take advantage of baserunners, but that seems to be the problem to begin with.

My Take on the Opposition:
Cueto looks like he’s having a breakout season but it’s actually right in line with his past two. His ERA’s in his previous two seasons have been more in line with his xFIP in the mid-4’s, but the ERA has dropped considerably this season despite the normal 4.42 xFIP. That’s due to a LOB% of 78.3% and BABIP of .286. He’s walking fewer but also striking out fewer, and his BB/K is actually lower than his career average. Some of his success may have to do with a considerable drop in home runs allowed, from 1.26 to 0.65 HR/9. Cueto is vulnerable and lives dangerously, but taking advantage is the hard part. He has given up three runs in 13 career innings against the Braves.

Game Notes:
According to the AJC, Jonny Venters‘ suspension has been rescinded entirely and he won’t serve any time. Also, his fine was reduced. Justice prevails, and luckily the Braves won’t lose their reliever for the weekend.

Tags: Atlanta Braves Cincinnati Reds

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