Back At Home!
The Braves (52-39, .571, 29-13 home record) vs Reds (51-40, .560, 21-24 road record) square off for a 4-game series, which starts tonight at 7:10 Eastern Time. The Braves have just finished a 6-game road trip where they went .500, which in the overall scheme isn’t a bad record. The Reds have lost 4 of their last 6.
Tim Hudson has made 18 starts this year, amassing 1.3 fWAR to go along with his 4.03 ERA. Advanced pitching metrics show that he has been slightly better than this ERA though. He has been on a bit of a roll lately, however, as he has posted a 2.28 ERA since June 1st. He has yet to face the Reds this season, but over his career, he has posted good numbers against current Reds players (even Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto). As a team, the Reds have hit Hudson at a .210/.275/.323/.598 clip.
Mat Latos has been a true ace for the Reds; his 2.8 fWAR, 3.18 ERA, and even lower FIP all show this to be true. He has a devastating assortment of pitches, as his fastball, curveball, and slider are all “plus” pitches. Since June 1st, his ERA is 3.45, but he really only had 2 “poor” starts. He still limits the hits and walks that he allows, but the Braves still need to be patient at the plate. If they get overly aggressive, he can start mowing guys down in a hurry. The Braves do hit him well, especially Chris Johnson, Justin Upton, and Brian McCann. As a group, those 3 hit .378/.478/.730/1.208 vs Latos. The rest of the team struggles or has too small of a sample size for their stats to matter. The team’s OPS against him is .965 (largely pumped up from the trio mentioned above)
Kris Medlen has had an up and down year, at times looking like the guy who won 12 straight games for his team while posting a sub 1 ERA, and at others looking like a pitcher who was completely overmatched and had no pitch besides his changeup. He has been better of late though, posting 3.40 ERA, and 67% strikes, though the opponent batting line against him of .287/.321/.449/.770 is concerning. The walks are down, and the strikeouts are up, though, so that is 1 positive sign. The Reds don’t have that many PAs against Medlen, but they do have a .237/.275/.447/.722 line in their limited exposure.
Bronson Arrroyo has been a very solid for the Reds this season, posting are 3.55 ERA for the season. Since June 1st, he’s been even better, minus his June 25 start. If we take out that 1 start, his ERA was 2.04 since the beginning of June. He’s been on quite the roll lately, and will attempt to continue this vs. the Braves. Unfortunately, the odds are against him. Justin Upton, Brian McCann, Freddie Freeman, Chris Johnson, and Dan Uggla all hit him very well. The current Braves roster has a .296/.361/.592/.952 line against him in 158 PAs.
Mike Minor has been the Braves staff ace all season long, even despite his hiccups of late. He’s been a good pitcher at home this year, and has had good success against the Reds in his limited experience versus them.
Homer Bailey just won the player of the week award last week, but he has been a bit inconsistent this season. Even his overall numbers are a little out of line from his career averages, but so far he is making it work. He has posted a 3.51 ERA since June1, and has had 3 of his last 7 starts be dominant ones. However, he has allowed a home run in 4 of his last 6 starts, and with a day game in Atlanta vs this lineup being his draw, there is a decent possibility that he can get touched up. However, I must inform you that he has handle this team’s hitters in the past; they have a cumulative .186/.288/.214/.502 line against him in 81 PAs.
Julio Teheran … I have no words. The kid has been dynamite since late April. He’s had 2.22 ERA since June1, but going back to April, after his first 3 starts, which were admittedly a bit rough, he has a 2.36 ERA. And he’s doing it many different ways. Some days, he decides to rack up strikeouts, and others, he consistently forces weak contact to allow himself to go deep in games. This kid is exciting to watch, and with the run he’s on, I see no reason for him to stumble against the Reds when we’re at home. This will be his first start against this team.
Tony Cingrani is the Reds hot, young rookie arm. He’s got 3 good pitches, and good velocity on his fastball. Per babip, he has gotten a bit lucky this year, but he’s been able to get good results by consistently getting strikeouts. 30% of the batters he faces end up making a U-turn to the bench. He can be had with walks, however, so the team needs to be patient and wait him out. He has never faced the Braves.
That’s A Wrap
I expect that the Braves will split the series. Winning (or losing) a 4-game series is pretty hard to do in baseball, but if the team can make it happen, I won’t complain! After the Maholm start yesterday, it would be great to see some good pitching, and the bats that seemed to awaken in Miami stay hot as we push into the All-Star Break.