Friday, July 19, 2013

Game 96 Preview: Atlanta Braves (54-41) at Chicago White Sox (37-55)

Pitching Probables:
RHP Tim Hudson (ATL) 6-7, 4.02 ERA
LHP John Danks (CHW) 2-6, 4.31 ERA

Tonight's Starting Lineups (8:10 pm ET/FS South):

Braves (career vs. Danks):
Jose Constanza - LF (N/A)
Reed Johnson - CF (1-6, 2 K)
Justin Upton - RF (0-2, RBI)
Brian McCann - C (0-3, K)
Evan Gattis - DH (N/A)
Dan Uggla - 2B (1-3, 2B, RBI, K)
Chris Johnson - 3B (N/A)
Andrelton Simmons - SS (N/A)
Joey Terdoslavich - 1B (N/A)

White Sox (career vs. Hudson):
Alejandro De Aza - CF (N/A)
Alexei Ramirez - SS (0-1, 2 BB)
Alex Rios - RF (3-16, RBI, 3 K)
Adam Dunn - DH (11-31, 2B, 4 HR, 7 RBI, BB, 5 K)
Jeff Keppinger - 1B (9-17, 2B, 2 K)
Conor Gillaspie - 3B (N/A)
Dayan Viciedo - LF (N/A)
Gordon Beckham - 2B (0-3, K)
Josh Phegley - C (N/A)

The first half of the season for the Braves and White Sox went in dramatically different directions. Chicago finished with the second-worst record in the American League, while Atlanta had the third-best record in the National League. These diverging clubs with get together for a three-game weekend series at U.S. Cellular Field tonight.
A major part of the White Sox's struggles stems from the ability to generate much offense. The club has only outscored one team in the MLB, the Marlins, which is the direct opposite from this time last season, when the White Sox were among the top 10 in the league in runs scored.
The All-Star break also did wonders for the Braves, but for a completely different reason. Atlanta limped into the break with minor ailments to Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, and BJ Upton was put on the 15-day disabled list with a strained adductor muscle.
Attempting to continue the Braves' first-half momentum will be Tim Hudson, who opposes White Sox starter John Danks on the mound tonight. Hudson struggled during the month of May, but has since found his form over the past month and a half. Over his last eight starts, Hudson has allowed more than three runs once, and has posted seven quality starts during that eight-start span. In his last start against the Reds, he kept the Cincinnati lineup in check, allowing three runs while scattering eight hits, and struck out five over seven innings in the 6-5 win last Thursday night.

Jake Peavy will be activated from DL, to start Saturday vs. Braves:
White Sox SP Jake Peavy will be activated from the disabled list in time for Saturday's game against the Braves. Peavy is recovering from a left rib fracture suffered in the June 4 start against the Mariners. Peavy completed his final rehab start for Double-A Birmingham on Sunday, and threw 90 pitches, 57 of which were strikes in five innings. Peavy, who is on the trading block, could showcase his talents with the possibility of being traded to a contender before the July 31 trade deadline.

BJ to disabled list, Gattis and J. Upton make respective returns, Freeman, Heyward remain out:
Braves C/OF Evan Gattis returned to the Braves in the team's first-hlaf finale against the Reds, but BJ Upton took his place on the disabled list.
Braves 1B Freddie Freeman sat out of Tuesday's All-Star with a sore thumb suffered in last Saturday's game against the Reds when he jammed the thumb while tagging Chris Heisey in the 1st inning. Freeman could be back in the lineup this weekend against the White Sox.
Jason Heyward, who strained his hamstring sliding into third base in last Thursday's game against the Reds, is not in the lineup tonight, but will return as well at some point this weekend.

Side note:
Braves' 54 wins are tied for the seventh-most wins in franchise history before the All-Star break. The record is held by the 2003 team, which won 61 games before the break.
White Sox have not won consecutive series since May 20-22 against the Red Sox and May 24-26 against the Marlins.
White Sox reliever Jesse Crain did not pitch in Tuesday's All-Star Game due to a sprained right shoulder.
Tim Hudson's career ERA against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field is 10.45, which is the highest against any team in an opposing ballpark in his career.

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