Monday night at New Yankee Stadium the Braves try to gets some revenge on the Yankees for the three game sweep in Atlanta last week. It was a rough week for the Bravos as they lost six of seven games, saw Brandon Beachy go on the 15 day DL with an elbow injury and watched he bullpen blow two four game leads.
Game one of the series is a rematch of last Tuesday’s game between Mike Minor and CC Sabathia. The Braves had Sabathia on the ropes early but failed to send him to the showers. Minor left with a lead then saw the bullpen give it up. Minor will need to be at his best again at the Stadium if he’s to survive the bats of a hot Yankees team that enters Monday having won nine in a row.
Sabathia is just 3-2 at home and his WHIP over the last two weeks is 1.429. The Braves showed last week that they can hit CC but failed to capitalize on early chances to get him out of the game. They will need to do better in the Yankees house and our team is built with the kind of hitter that can take advantage of Yankee stadiums quirks, we just have to do it.
Game two is a rematch of Tim Hudson and Hiroki Kuroda from Wednesday night. Once again we had the opportunity to put a lot of runs up early but didn’t capitalize. Kuroda is a better pitcher at home (4-2) but having seen him once we should be better prepared to handle his offerings. Hudson pitched well enough to win in Atlanta but has always had trouble with the Yankees. He’s 1-4 lifetime and 0-2 as a Braves when facing them. Huddy will need to be on top of his game in New York to come away with a win.
Game three see Tommy Hanson take on Phil Hughes. We know about Hanson’s issues this year but he has been pitching better of late in spit of Daryl Cousins inability to see a strike thrown by the redhead on Friday.
Phil Hughes has been hot. In his last three starts he’s 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA and 23 Ks. He’s settled nicely into the rotation spot vacated by A.J. Burnett and finally become the dependable middle of the rotation guy the Yankees expected. The only Braves to have faced Hughes are Bourn who’s 1-3, Jack Wilson 2-6 and Dan Uggla who’s 0-1. The Braves always have trouble with starters they haven’t seen and Hughes is on top of his game. This will be an interesting challenge for the lineup against a potential World Series team.
Freddie Freeman will miss Monday because Sabathia is pitching but probably return Tuesday night if the cortisone shots he had in his knuckle do their job. With Freddie injured it’s hard to predict who will DH but I expect Chipper Jones to fill that role in at least one game. Eric O’Flaherty’s outing today seems to indicate his elbow has settled down and he should be available unless he wakes up sore. Randall Delgado went eight strong today and allowed all in the pen but Chad Durbin to have a day off so they should be well rested.
Odds and Ends
I joined Ricky over at What’s Brewin for a podcast previewing the series. You can check that out by clicking the link of course. I was a bit embarrassed not to be able to single out one Chipper Jones moment as the highlight of his career but it hard when there are so many running around in my tiny little mind. He gave his view on some Yankee questions I received earlier and I tried to answer some of his about the Braves.
- Russell Martin’s future there – he believes the Yankees have minor league talent that will take his place because he hasn’t been hitting well at all this year
- Nick Swisher’s future when he hits free agency – He suggests that Swishers is replaceable if his demands are high because he’s been a dud in the post season and while a competent outfielder they can get others to do the job for less money. As many of you know I think Swisher is significantly over rated. He will be 32 in November and his current line is a mediocre .262/.325/.486. AS Ricky pointed out his post season numbers as a Yankee are bad highlighted by a .228 OBP.
- Brett Gardner will be the Yankees nine hole hitter (until Jeter retires) and left fielder for the foreseeable future. The Yankees love Curtis Granderson in center field and the pop in his bat. As long as he stays healthy he’ll stay there.
- Chipper’s first and last visit to the Stadium. As far as he was aware there was no ceremony scheduled for the visit.
That’s a Wrap
The Yankees will grind out at bats, jump on mistakes and leave few runners in scoring position. The pitchers need to continue their good work but a pitcher control only what he throws not whether the game is won. As Randall Delgado found today, you can pitch a genuine gem and without run support go home a loser. The lineup needs to wake up. Not the easiest task when facing the Yankees at home.