The Braves are hot coming into the first series against the San Francisco Giants. Atlanta is on an MLB leading 7 game winning streak and they have won 8 games out of their last 10. The Giants are also doing well, and are sitting 1.5 games ahead of the Dodgers in first place of the mediocre NL West.
Jurrjens has actually done extremely well after a few months in the minors and since coming back to the big club he is 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA. Barry Zito has been decent for the Giants so far this year but probably a bit lucky as well. He is 7-6 with a 4.01 ERA, 5.05 FIP, and 1.43 WHIP.
Mike Minor still hasn’t put it all together like he did at the start of the season but he has been good enough to stick around at the back of the rotation. He might have put his worst outings behind him however. as he hasn’t been near as bad in June and July as he was in May. Vogelsong could be another Giants pitcher who has been quite lucky this season as his ERA and FIP are separated by more than a full run. He has a 2.36 ERA, 3.72 FIP, and 1.12 WHIP. He’s still a good pitcher but don’t expect him to be an ace.
This is likely going to be the best pitcher’s duel of the series as Bumgarner and Hudson have been each team’s respective number 2 guy so far this season (I feel comfortable saying Cain and Beachy are/were the team’s number ones). Bumgarner has a 3.15 ERA, 3.56 FIP, and 1.07 WHIP this year while Hudson has a 3.80 ERA, 3.38 FIP, and 1.23 WHIP.
It is an extremely important time for the Braves with Simmons out for a while and lingering questions about the rotation and bench. I am confident that the Front Office will make the moves necessary for the team to compete but the guys are still going to have to show that they are ready to win now.
The team is going to have to move on from the inconsistencies they showed for the first half of the season and make a strong run while the Nationals are still going strong.
There are a number of things going good for the Braves at this time. Brian McCann is starting to come back to the McCann we all know, the outfield is still playing defense and carrying the offense, and the Nationals get closer and closer to shutting down Stephen Strasburg every day.
Still there are some guys that need to step up their game, mainly a few starting pitchers. In my opinion both Tommy Hanson and Mike Minor are better than what they have shown so far in 2012. These guys are going to be crucial to the team’s success near the end of the season and need to start to come into their own.
The Braves are playing some good baseball right now, here’s to continued success!