The Braves are coming off their second sweep in three series as they played incredibly well against the Mariners out west. Now the Braves come back home to finish up Interleague Play against Baltimore. The series appears to be in Atlanta’s favor, as they are 8-2 in their last 10, as opposed to Baltimore’s 4-6. On top of that, Baltimore is only 6-9 in their previous `15 Interleague games this season. Hopefully the Braves can close out the American League on a good note.
Braves’ Keys to Success
1) The 5 Run Rule – Of the Braves 47 wins, 25 of them have come when they score 5 runs or more. This includes 2 out of the 3 wins against both the Mariners and Blue Jays, both of whom they swept. This should be feasible against a struggling Baltimore pitching staff, which, after a hot start, has cooled off tremendously.
2) Struggling Sluggers – Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward were supposed to be exactly the bats that the Braves needed to fix the offensive struggles of the past few seasons, but this has not been the case. However, when these guys are getting hits, the Braves seem to be winning. In the Braves’ last 10 games, they have managed 8 wins. In those 8 games, Uggla has a hit in 6 of them, while Heyward has a hit in 7 of them. The Braves need these guys on base and scoring runs to win.
3) Keep the Ball in the Park – The Braves have been hitting their fair share of homeruns, while rarely giving them up(ranked 8th in hitting them, while allowing the second fewest). However, the Braves have allowed a homer in six of their last seven games. It hasn’t seemed to get to them yet, but luck only goes so far, and they need to make sure they don’t continue this trend.
What to Watch For
1) McCann-VP – Cheesy? You bet, but it’s not out of the question. This guy is quite possibly the hottest hitter in baseball, and is without question the BEST CATCHER IN BASEBALL. That’s right Joe Mauer, the BEST. The Braves may have a tough road ahead in trying to catch the Phillies, but with this guy as Atlanta’s backstop, they McCann do it!
2) Best Show in Baseball – No, I’m not talking about Philly, I’m talking about the Braves pitching staff, which has carried this team. The three pitchers who will pitch in this series have been putting up crazy numbers of late. Since June 20, Jair Jurrjens, Tim Hudson, and Brandon Beachy have combined for: 5 starts, 32 IP, 38 Ks, and 3 runs. That’s right; this combines for a 0.84 ERA, a 1.19 K/IP, and 6.4 innings per game. Philly can’t touch this.
3) Fiery Freddy – The Braves have had inconsistency at their 1B position since maybe Fred McGriff, but that is all changing. In his last 10 games, Freeman is hitting .333 with 8 RBIs and 2 HRS. Hopefully Freddy can keep producing runs for the Braves pitchers.
Friday – Jeremy Guthrie (BAL) 3-9, 3.93 ERA vs. Jair Jurrjens (ATL) 10-3, 2.07 ERA
Saturday – Jake Arrieta (BAL) 9-4, 4.50 ERA vs. Tim Hudson (ATL) 6-6, 3.51 ERA
Sunday – Zach Britton (BAL) 6-6, 3.38 ERA vs. Brandon Beachy (ATL) 3-1, 3.04 ERA