Thursday, May 30, 2013

Game 53 Preview: Toronto Blue Jays (23-30) at Atlanta Braves (31-21)

Pitching Probables:
RHP R.A. Dickey (TOR) 4-6, 4.85 ERA
LHP Mike Minor (ATL) 6-2, 2.47 ERA

Tonight's Starting Lineups (7:10 pm ET, SportSouth):

Blue Jays (career against Minor):
Melky Cabrera - LF (1-3, HR, RBI)
Jose Bautista - RF (0-3)
Edwin Encarnacion - 1B (0-1)
Mark DeRosa - 3B (N/A)
Colby Rasmus - CF (0-2, BB, K)
Maicer Izturis - SS (N/A)
Emilio Bonifacio - 2B (6-16, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 2 K)
Henry Blanco - C (1-5, RBI, K)
R.A. Dickey - P (0-1)

Braves (career against Dickey):
Jordan Schafer - CF (4-10, 2 K)
Andrelton Simmons - SS (N/A)
Justin Upton - RF (2-8, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 3 K)
Freddie Freeman - 1B (9-18, 4 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K)
Evan Gattis - LF (N/A)
Brian McCann - C (4-20, HR, RBI, 5 BB, 2 K)
Chris Johnson - 3B (4-15, 2B, RBI, BB, K)
Ramiro Pena - 2B (0-3)
Mike Minor - P (0-2, K)

As people know, R.A. Dickey is the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner. As dominant as he was last season, there was one club that gave him fits, the Atlanta Braves. In Thursday's series finale, Dickey will face his old nemesis at Turner Field in the final game of a pair of two two-game sets this week against the Braves.
In three starts last season against the Braves, Dickey posted a 8.80 ERA. In 15 1/3 innings, he allowed 21 hits and eight walks.
So far in 2013, Dickey has struggled to regain the dominance that led to a Cy Young Award. He's just 4-6 on the season with an ERA of 4.85. In his previous start against the Orioles, Dickey allowed six runs on nine hits, walked three, and struck out four in 6 2/3 innings pitched as he took the 6-5 loss.
Opposite Dickey tonight will be Braves LHP Mike Minor, who has been one of the better pitchers in the National League over the last calendar year. He has a 6-2  record this season with a 2.47 ERA. In his past 25 starts dating back to last season, Minor has posted an ERA of 2.32.

Blue Jays call up three pitchers:
Blue Jays have called up pitchers Todd Redmond (former Brave), Neil Wagner, and Juan Perez for last night's game against the Braves. The moves combated a depleted Jays bullpen stemming from the injury of Brandon Morrow on Tuesday night. Perez and Wagner both pitched last night and combined to go 4 2/3 innings of shutout ball.
In corresponding moves, Jays demoted RHP Thad Weber to Triple-A Buffalo and designated Ramon Ortiz for assignment.

Jordan Walden activated from disabled list:
Braves reliever Jordan Walden was activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to Wednesday's game against the Blue Jays. Walden missed three weeks because of a right shoulder ailment. Walden pitched a scoreless frame in last night's 3-0 loss. In order to make room for Walden, Braves sent Cory Rasmus back to Triple-A Gwinnett.

Braves call up Alex Wood, designate Francisco for assignment:
Braves called up promising LHP Alex Wood from Double-A Mississippi this afternoon. The former UGA star has been nothing short of dominant in the Minors this season, going 4-2 with a microscopic ERA of 1.26 in ten starts for Mississippi. In a corresponding move, Braves designated 3B Juan Francisco for assignment. Braves have ten days to trade Francisco, if not he can go down to Triple-A or be claimed off waivers with the worst team in the league (Marlins) having the first shot of claiming him.

Side note:
Dan Uggla is 1-for-26 in his career against R.A. Dickey, which was a home run. With that, Uggla will not be in the lineup tonight. Ramiro Pena gets the start at 2B and will hit eighth.
Freddie Freeman has had far more success than that of Uggla, going 9-for-18 against the knuckleballer with four doubles, a home run, and 4 runs batted in.
Braves have the second best winning percentage of all-time in Interleague play among National League teams.
In 13 career appearances (10 starts) against the Braves, Dickey is 2-5 with a 5.15 ERA.
Mike Minor has made just one career start against the Blue Jays, which came back in 2011, and allowed one run on five hits, walked a batter, and struck out eight over seven innings to get the win.

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