Are we actually playing baseball again? Thank God. I was forced to choose between the Espy's and bullet to the skull this week on my sports watching. After 10 minutes of the Espy's the bullet started to look mighty friendly. On to the matchups!
Game 1: Hudson v. Young
Game 2: Hanson v. Dickey
Game 3: Sheets v. Santana
The Hudson match is an obvious advantage to the Braves. He's coming off a second cortizone shot to his ankle for the problem he had in his last start, but he should be good to go after the extended break. As expected, his outing against Philly was in stark contrast to his disaster with Washington. Even better, in 63 ABs, David Wright is only hitting .206 off Huddy. That removes their best hitter and makes them rely on Murphy and Tejada. That's important, because the one guy we can't let beat us in this game is Tejada, who has a .545 average off Hudson in 11 ABs. In the other corner, they have Chris Young, a righty starter that I actually went to high school with back in Highland Park, TX. Nice guy. I hope we put up 10 on him. Young is 2-2 in decisions, but 2-4 in overall games since June 5th. His last outing was a 2-9 loss to Philly. How did Philly score 9 runs? He has no real stats against our batters other than Chipper, who is batting .556 with 2 bombs in 9 ABs. Go get him, Old Grey Mare!
I chuckle like an idiot every time I say RA Dickey. It's a funny last name. I'm also apparently not over the same stuff that made me laugh when I was 12. Dickey's game, unfortunately, is no laughing matter. He's 12-1 with a 2.40 ERA. HOWEVER, that one loss was a 6-14 asskicking by none other than your Atlanta Braves @ Turner Field. The key to getting Dickey will go through 2 guys. Michael Bourn and Freddie Freeman. Both are batting over .300 lifetime off RA, and they will be in positions during the game to knock in some runs. Hanson has been steady as a rock over his last 10 starts. He's posted a 6-2 record with around a 3.50 ERA. He had one blowup game in May against St. Louis that stands as a dark spot on that record. Otherwise, he's been able to hold Tejada & Wright to under .200 lifetime. The guy to watch out for if you're Hanson? Don't pitch to Daniel Murphy and his .455 average against you!
We're all getting Sheets-faced in Game 3! Going 3 Sheets to the wind! Ok, I'm done. There's nothing really to tell you about how this game is going to go on our side, because he's brand spanking new to the team. I can tell you how we fare typically against Santana. It's mediocre to ugly to average. In 7 starts over the last 3 seasons, Santana has a 3-3 record with a 1.94 ERA against the Braves. We don't hit this guy well. That is unless your name is Matt Diaz, who hits .514 in 35 ABs. I would bet my next paycheck that Matty's in the game on Sunday to face Santana. He's going to be very key in helping the offensive train get moving if we plan to win this game.
Realistically, I think there's a good chance we could be 1-1 going into a rubber game on Sunday. At that point, I have no idea what happens with an untested guy on the mound. However, I do believe a series win against the Mets right off the bat would be a great way to bolster our confidence for a playoff run. Let's go make that happen!