Well 0 and 3 isn’t how any of us expected to be going into Minute Maid Park but like so many people have already said, it’s only three games. The biggest thing I think we can take away from our disappointing opening series is that Fredi Gonzalez is dreadful.
But let’s try and ignore that for now and focus on getting a win against (again) one of the worst teams in the league:
Monday 4/9, 8:05
On the mound for the Braves: Brandon Beachy
On the mound for the Astros: J.A. Happ
Brandon Beachy was one of the Braves top pitchers last year and did so with a ridiculous K/9 as well as an extremely low BB/9. His Spring started out rough but he began to shake off the dust in his last couple outings. He might not keep up the super high level of performance that we saw last year (K/9 of 10.74, BB/9 of 2.92, 1.21 WHIP) but the Braves should have a good chance of winning whenever he steps on the mound. Beachy will need to work on going deeper into games this season as well.
J.A. Happ is the fourth string pitcher on a pretty bad team. It goes without saying that he isn’t a high caliber pitcher. Last season he had a K/9 of 7.71, BB/9 of 4.78, 5.35 ERA, and 4.69 FIP. Let’s just say no one picked him up for their fantasy teams. However he is left handed and because of that it’s perfectly possible that the Braves will struggle against him.
Tuesday 4/10, 8:05
On the mound for the Braves: Tommy Hanson
On the mound for the Astros: Kyle Weiland
With the off day immediately after Hanson’s Opening Day performance the Braves are able get Hanson back in on regular rest and bump Randall Delgado to Wednesday. Tommy Hanson, our ‘ace’ will be going up against the Astros 5th starter. He had a solid outing but his velocity was down a bit, so be on the lookout for that.
There isn’t a whole lot to say about Kyle Weiland. According to Marc Hulet his future could be in the bullpen and other than a mid 90’s fastball he doesn’t have much of a repertoire. The 15th ranked prospect in the system shouldn’t prove much of a challenge to most big league offenses but the Braves haven’t exactly done anything yet.
Wednesday 4/11, 8:05
On the mound for the Braves: Randall Delgado
On the mound for the Astros: Wandy Rodriguez
Delgado ended up getting into the rotation for a few weeks at least because he performed less bad in Spring Training. He managed to keep his strikeout numbers up but was entirely too hittable. Delgado has already made some solid starts for the Braves and hopefully he can make a couple more before going back down to fine tune everything in Gwinnett
Hanson is likely starting before Delgado because the team is legitimately concerned about lefties, as they should be. Rodriguez is the only pitcher on the Astros staff who is pretty good and he has a good chance of making Braves hitters look stupid.
Rolling & Strolling
remember we have only had three games of regular season baseball…
- Freddie Freeman- Freddie Freeman leads the team in hits so far this season and seems to be doing just fine after a solid Spring Training. He could end up being Atlanta’s most consistent hitter thanks to his fantastic swing and approach.
- Martin Prado- Prado is the only Brave with a homer at this point and was dominant this Spring, so he has to be given a spot in the rolling list.
- Jason Heyward- Heyward has had two hits so far in 10 at bats, both for extra bases (double and triple). He also already has two walks under his belt, something that is great to see.
- J.D. Martinez- the Astros’ left fielder has started off hot in 2012 getting four hits in 3 games and 12 at bats including a double and a homer.
- Jose Altuve- Altuve has played in 2 games so far and managed a couple hits including a triple.
- Chris Johnson- Manning the hot corner this season, Johnson has tallied three hits including a double as well as stealing a bag.
- Michael Bourn- Bourn has gotten 2 hits and a walk but he has also managed to strike out 5 times in just 3 games.
- Jose Constanza- It might be a bit unfair to put Constanza here since he only has 3 at bats, but he does not need to be on the team and he has yet to do anything. Except strike out twice
- Juan Francisco- Francisco has only received 5 at bats but he doesn’t have a hit yet so he gets the honor of being the last player in the strolling list.
- Marwin Gonzalez- The Astros probably don’t really care what Marwin does because he is just playing until Lowrie can come back. He has 1 hit and a strikeout in 10 at bats.
- Jason Castro- Another victim of the small sample size, Castro has only 5 at bats but zero hits.
People Braves fans are already going crazy and a win or two or a sweep would do a lot to make us all feel better. Like the first series, we need to take at least two games to consider it a true win and get going. Houston has a strong chance of taking the third game so we really need to hit the ball and give Beachy and Hanson some support. The Braves have the better team, they just need to prove it. However I’m sure Fredi Gonzalez will do all he can to make that a challenge.