Friday, June 14, 2013

Game 67 Preview: San Francisco Giants (34-31) at Atlanta Braves (39-27)

Pitching Probables:
Madison Bumgarner (SF) 5-4, 3.58 ERA
Kris Medlen (ATL) 3-6, 2.87 ERA

Tonight's Starting Lineups (7:35 pm ET, FS South/MLB Network):

Giants (career vs. Medlen):
Gregor Blanco - CF (1-2, 2B, RBI, BB)
Tony Abreu - 2B (0-1, K)
Buster Posey - C (1-3)
Hunter Pence - RF (1-5)
Brandon Crawford - SS (2-2, RBI, BB)
Brandon Belt - 1B (1-2, HR, RBI, 2 BB)
Andres Torres - LF (2-5, 2 RBI, 2 K)
Joaquin Arias - 3B (0-1)
Madison Bumgarner - P (N/A)

Braves (career vs. Bumgarner):
Andrelton Simmons - SS (0-3, K)
Jason Heyward - RF (5-13, HR, 4 RBI, BB, K)
Justin Upton - LF (9-17, 2B, HR, RBI, 4 BB, K)
Freddie Freeman - 1B (3-13, HR, 2 RBI, BB, 4 K)
Brian McCann - C (2-8, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K)
BJ Upton - CF (0-2, BB, K)
Dan Uggla - 2B (1-16, 2B, 2 BB, 6 K)
Chris Johnson - 3B (2-12, 3B, 7 K)
Kris Medlen - P (N/A)

The first-place Braves are finally home from their seven-game road trip that spanned the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego and finished a disappointing 2-5, including being swept by the Padres. Tonight, the Braves will look to take care of another NL West ball club and not in a hospitable manner. Kris Medlen will take the hill in the series opener of a three-game weekend series against San Francisco, with left-hander Madison Bumgarner opposing him.
Giants closed their series with the Pirates this week with 17 hits in a convincing 10-0 win to avoid being swept by Pittsburgh. Braves were off Thursday after being swept by the Padres and are now back home at Turner Field where the Braves have won 21 of 28 home games, the best winning percentage in baseball, despite playing the fewest home games.
During his first eight starts of the 2013 season, Braves P Kris Medlen (3-6, 2.87 ERA) fought through mechanical issues, but has since fixed his problem and has pitched like the guy who compiled a 0.97 ERA in 12 regular season starts a year ago.
For Bumgarner, the southpaw is coming off an outing in which he shutout the Diamondbacks over five innings before giving up three runs in the sixth. Bumgarner is 5-4 with a 3.58 ERA in 13 starts this season.
The trip to Atlanta marks the final stop of a nine-game road trip for the Giants. They took two of three from the D-backs in Arizona before losing two of three in Pittsburgh.

Heyward's bat heating up:
The early part of the season for Braves RF Jason Heyward has been marred by a terrible slump and an emergency appendectomy, but he's been turning things around as of late. Heyward is currently riding a ten-game hitting streak, during which he raised his batting average over the Mendoza line (.200).
After going 2-for-5 in Wednesday's game against San Diego, Heyward's average now sits at .215. During his hit streak, he is hitting .395 (17-for-43) with three doubles, three home runs, four runs driven in, and scored eight runs.

Side note:
Giants have struggled away from AT&T Park this season, going 13-20, including losses in 12 of their last 17 road games.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy selected Nationals manager Davey Johnson and Mets skipper Terry Collins as his coaches for the July 16th MLB All-Star Game at Citi Field. Bochy's coaching staff will also join him in New York.
Giants took three of four from Atlanta when they hosted the Brave sin San Francisco from May 9-12. Braves were outscored 21-10 in the series.
Braves are 9-11 vs. the NL West this season. Giants are 6-4 against the NL East.
On May 11th, Bumgarner pitched seven innings, allowed just one run on four hits, walked two, and struck out 11 in the win against the Braves.
Medlen struggled against the Giants the last he saw them, allowing five runs (three earned) on eight hits, walked five, and struck out only one in 5 1/3 innings in the loss back on May 12.

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