The Braves beat up on an unbelievably poor Tim Lincecum last night, winning 7-1. This gave the team a split, leaving the Braves 4.5 games behind the Nationals. They are still 2.5 ahead of the Cardinals and 4 ahead of the Dodgers for the top wild-card spot.
- Tim Hudson pitched well, walking one and striking out three in seven innings. He induced 64% groundballs, a sign of the late life his sinker showed. These groundballs also limited the Giants to no extra-base hits.
- Lincecum really looks like Jurrjens with a bit more in the tank. He seemed to have no idea where the ball was going, along with the lack of conviction needed to make great pitches. His peripherals have been declining the past couple years, but the results all went south this year.
- Brian McCann‘s RBI single and Juan Francisco‘s mammoth shot to center were the big WPA plays, but Paul Janish sealed the deal with his 2-RBI triple in the 6th off George Kontos, leaving the Braves with a 98% chance to win.
The Braves now head south to the other pitcher’s paradise of PETCO Park in San Diego. The Braves won two of three in Atlanta two weeks ago, so I will spare the offense talk and head straight for the pitching matchups.
Maholm has been great so far as a Brave, posting a 2.40 ERA and averaging 7.5 IP a start. Kelly will be making his major league debut tonight, making him the second major prospect (Trevor Bauer) to debut against the Braves this year. Drafted in 2008 as a two-way player, the Red Sox pulled the plug on his shortstop career to put him on the mound full-time. He missed a lot of this year on the disabled list with elbow soreness, but he has three walks and 39 strikeouts in his limited work this year. The 22-year-old throws 90-93 with good sink, a plus curve, and an average changeup.
Medlen has been the best pitcher in the majors the past month, so let’s hope he can just keep on keeping on. Werner will be making his second big-league start after winning his debut against the Pirates. He took a much less direct path to the majors, pitching in the independent Frontier League for two seasons before signing with the Padres last year. The lefty is a groundball machine with his heavy sinker at 87-89 and an 82-84 circle change with depth. His breaking pitches are marginal at best, which should give the Braves’ lefties less of a problem at the plate.
Unfortunately, we have to stomach another start by Hanson, just hoping he finds some sort of fastball command. Stults beat the Braves in the last series, allowing one run in 7.2 IP. He pitched to contact, walking none and striking out three. The lefty also had a 30% groundball rate, which is dangerous with the Braves lineup, even in PETCO.