Sunday, June 16, 2013

Game 69 Preview: San Francisco Giants (35-32) at Atlanta Braves (40-28)

Pitching Probables:
RHP Tim Lincecum (SF) 4-6, 4.70 ERA
RHP Julio Teheran (ATL) 4-3, 3.62 ERA

Tonight's Starting Lineups (8:05 pm ET, ESPN):

Giants (career vs. Teheran):
Gregor Blanco - CF (0-3, K)
Brandon Crawford - SS (0-3)
Buster Posey - C (2-3, HR, 3 RBI, K)
Hunter Pence - RF (0-4)
Brandon Belt - 1B (2-3, 2B)
Andres Torres - LF (N/A)
Joaquin Arias - 3B (N/A)
Nick Noonan - 2B (N/A)
Tim Lincecum - P (N/A)

Braves (career vs. Lincecum):
Andrelton Simmons - SS (N/A)
Jason Heyward - RF (4-15, 2B, 5 BB, 6 K)
Justin Upton - LF (11-47, 4 2B, 3B, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 17 K)
Freddie Freeman - 1B (0-11, BB, 2 K)
BJ Upton - CF (0-2, BB, K)
Brian McCann - C (11-33, 5 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 11 K)
Chris Johnson - 3B (2-6, K)
Ramiro Pena - 2B (1-3)
Julio Teheran - P (N/A)

A Giants win tonight will clinch back-to-back series in Atlanta for the first time since 1990. Braves look maintain the league's best home record with a series win in tonight's rubber game. Giants send out Tim Lincecum while Julio Teheran takes the mound for the NL East-leading Braves.
Giants have won only two series in Atlanta since 1994 and are combined 24-52-1 in that stretch, but with a series win at Turner Field a year ago, Giants with a win would claim back-to-back series victories for the first time since April 11-12 and June 8-10, 1990, incidentally, the Braves were in last place in the NL West, for the last time before winning 14 consecutive division titles.
Giants starter Tim Lincecum is still looking to regain his two-time Cy Young form. The four-time All-Star has lost six of his last eight decisions, throwing two of his shortest outings of the season, but sandwiching his best start of the season in between. He allowed one run in seven innings against the Blue Jays before allowing four runs (two earned) on seven hits, walked two, and struck out four in 4 2/3 innings in the loss to the Pirates.
After dominant performances from Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner in their turn in the rotation, the Giants are hoping Lincecum can catch on to get some momentum going for the Giants' starting staff.
Braves starter Julio Teheran had a strong start against the Giants last month, allowing three runs on seven hits in seven innings to get the only victory of the series out in San Francisco. Since then, he's flirted with a no-hitter against the Pirates, but followed that outing up with a rough one out in San Diego where he gave up five runs in six innings.

Buster Posey continues to cook his hometown team:
Giants C/1B Buster Posey enjoys facing the team from his home state of Georgia, running up his personal hitting streak to 13 games against the Braves with a double over the head of BJ Upton in yesterday's game. In that streak, the 2012 NL MVP is hitting .404 (21-for-52) with two homers and 16 RBIs in that span.

Marco Scutaro remains out of the lineup:
Giants 2B Marco Scutaro remains out of tonight's lineup with an injured left pinkie suffered when he was hit by pitch earlier this week. He tested the pinkie by taking batting practice Saturday and will be fitted for a orthotic device when the team heads back to San Francisco. Nick Noonan will start tonight at second base, with Tony Abreu, Scutaro's replacement, being bothered by a knee injury.

BJ Upton coming alive:
Braves CF BJ Upton brushed his season-long slump to the side for a day with a pair of homers in the win Saturday against the Giants. Upton now has six career multi-homer games, and Saturday was his fourth in his past 109 games, dating back to August 11, 2012.

Freddie Freeman continues to shine with RISP:
With his walk-off RBI single in yesterday's game, Braves 1B Freddie Freeman continued to deliver with runners in scoring position. Through Saturday's game, he is hitting .446 (25-for-56) with RISP and has two walk-off hits this season.

Side note:
Giants are 7-5 against the NL East this season, after going 15-19 against the division in 2012.
With the win yesterday, Braves upped their home record to 22-8 (.733) which is the best mark in the Majors.
Braves are currently in a tough stretch where they are playing 56 games in 59 days. So far, Atlanta is 25-22 and enter tonight's play with a six-game lead in the division with the Nationals 2-0 loss to the Indians today.
Following tonight's game, the Giants will head home to begin a three-game series with Padres beginning Monday night at AT&T Park. Braves will continue their home stand with a five-game series with the Mets beginning Monday night, including a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday.

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