Apr 21, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp (27) prepares for a game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

Series Preview: Braves @ Dodgers

After taking 3 of 4 in Arizona the Braves head to LA to finish off  the last road trip in April. The Braves and the Dodgers are the two hottest teams in the National League right now and they are about to find out who’s hotter. Atlanta is now 10 and 6 sitting in second place in the NL East behind Washington (12-4) and the Dodgers are leading an iffy NL West Division with a 12-4 record and the best player in the game right now, Matt Kemp.

Both offenses are surging right now, so it is going to boil down to the team who has the better pitching.

 

Pitching Matchups

Monday April 23, 10:10

On the mound for the Braves: Jair Jurrjens

On the mound for the Dodgers: Chris Capuano

The last thing JJ needs to get on the right track is to take the mound against this Dodgers team. I wouldn’t be surprised if this game ended up looking like the score of an NFL game which brings me to Chris Capuano. He is the Dodgers 5th starter which is always a good thing to run into. However Jurrjens is pitching like a number 17 guy like someone recently said.

Tuesday April 24, 10:10

On the mound for the Braves: Mike Minor (!)

On the mound for the Dodgers: Aaron Harang

So far this season Harang has a 1-1 record with an ERA of 5.40 but an FIP of 3.37. His WHIP is 1.62 and it makes sense when you see that he has the highest BB/9 (4.32) that he has had in 10 years as well as an opposing average of .275. The Braves more patient approach should do well against the 2012 Harang.

Wednesday April 25, 10:10

On the mound for the Braves: Brandon Beachy (!)

On the mound for the Dodgers: Ted Lilly

This might be the lowest ERA matchup in all of baseball the entire year (excluding opening games of course) as Brandon Beachy and his .47 ERA goes up against Ted Lilly and his .69 ERA. Lilly has also been walking a lot of people so far this season (4.85 K/9) but opposing hitters have only hit .140 against him.

 

Rolling & Strolling

Rolling:

Atlanta Braves:

  • Freddie Freeman- The last 7 games Freeman is hitting .400/.407/.960 with 10 hits including 5 doubles, 3 homeruns and 12 RBI
  • Michael Bourn- Bourn was struggling for a while at the beginning of the season but is SCORCHING now hitting .433/.485/.500 over his past 7 with 13 hits, 6 runs, and 6 stolen bases. He is 10th in the MLB with .9 fWAR
  • Jason Heyward- Heyward is 3rd in the MLB with 1.1 fWAR and is hitting .286/.355/.500 with 8 hits including a double, a triple, and a homer.

Los Angeles Dodgers:

  • Matt Kemp- He is the best player in the game RIGHT NOW.
  • Andre Ethier- Ethier is back to his 09 days and although he might be cooling off a bit he has 7 hits and 7 RBI in the past 7 games.
  • Dee Gordon- Gordon has been hitting well .318/.348/.364 but has been caught stealing twice in 5 attempts over the past 7 games. He is extremely fast but those numbers aren’t too great. At least Hanson isn’t on the mound in this series.

Strolling:

Atlanta Braves:

  • Chipper Jones- In 6 games Chipper is at .211/.333/.421 which really isn’t bad enough to put in the strolling category… but I couldn’t leave Tyler by himself. Sorry Chip.
  • Tyler Pastornicky- Pasto is actually struggling and Fredi not giving him regular time isn’t helping any thing. He is hitting .182/.182/.227 with 4 hits and 4 strikeouts in the past 5 games.

Los Angeles Dodgers:

  • Juan Rivera- Past 7 he is at .250/.273/.350 with just 2 extra base hits
  • Juan Uribe- Same kind of story and slash: .250/.250/.375. Be careful though that’s just 2 games so SMALL SAMPLE ALERT.

 

Wrap Up

Both these teams have no problems scoring runs and like I mentioned earlier it is going to come down to pitching. Fortunately the Braves have the better overall pitching staff (rotation and bullpen) and Atlanta once again gets out of facing a team’s ace(s) pitcher(s). We should be able to take 2 of three from even the Dodgers and finish the trip out on a great note.

 

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Tags: Atlanta Braves Los Angeles Dodgers Series Preview

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