This should be a good one, folks.
Two of the NL's best teams will face off this weekend in Hotlanta for a 4-game series. The Giants have been on fire for the last month, and have won 7 of their last 10. They're currently leading the Wild Card and are 1.5 games behind the San Diego Padres in the NL West.
Braves Home Record: 36-14
Giants Road Record: 29-26
The Giants do a little bit of everything, and they do most of everything well. Here's a look at their offensive numbers:
Runs: 479 (8th)
BA: .264 (4th)
OBP: .329 (6th)
SLG: .410 (7th)
HR: 99 (9th)
BB/K: 0.48 (4th)
SB: 41 (15th)
The Giants are a better club offensively than they're given credit for, and they're carried by Cake Lover Pablo Sandoval, super-rookie Buster Posey, and Aubrey Huff...yeah, that Aubrey Huff. Besides those big three, Juan Uribe is having a nice season and has surprisingly hit 15 HRs for San Fran. Outfielder Andres Torres is having a fine season for the Giants, but neither Aaron Rowand or Nate Schierholtz provide much offensively. Pat Burrell has been pretty good for them in limited playing time, and 2nd baseman Freddy Sanchez has been slumping horribly as of late. All-in-all, a pretty solid group offensively. If the Braves are able to contain two of the big three, I feel pretty good about our chances of a series win. That's a big "if", though.
Much more after the jump...
Now, a look at their excellent starting pitching:
ERA: 3.38 (2nd)
FIP: 3.87 (5th)
xFIP: 4.29 (10th)
BAA: .236 (2nd)
K/9: 8.17 (1st)
BB/9: 3.95 (16th)
WHIP: 1.31 (5th)
As you can see, they're very talented, but their overall numbers start to decrease a bit once you get into the advanced stats. Tim Lincecum is amazing. Matt Cain is almost as good. Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner are both very talented young lefties, and Barry Zito is having a fine season. They're going to strike you out a bunch, and they won't give up many hits either. They do walk a bunch of hitters though. I mean, a LOT of hitters. For my money though, they have the best starting pitching in the NL.
Finally, a look at the bullpen:
ERA: 3.32 (3rd)
FIP: 3.66 (3rd)
xFIP: 4.21 (6th)
BAA: .247 (4th)
K/9: 9.21 (3rd)
BB/9: 4.74 (16th)
WHIP: 1.45 (12th)
Pretty solid numbers throughout. Probably the 3rd best 'pen in the NL behind San Diego's and Atlanta's. Similar to the starting rotation, they strike out a ton of guys and don't allow many hits, but do walk a bunch of guys. Closer Brian Wilson is one of the best in the business, and he's dominate in the 9th inning. Middle relievers Sergio Romo, Guillermo Mota, Jeremy Affeldt and Denny Bautista have all been very solid for the Giants as well. Just like the Braves, they don't really have any real weaknesses to point out.
|2010 - Tim Lincecum||11-4||22||22||1||1||0||0||145.1||130||52||50||10||55||152||3.10||1.27|
|2010 - Jair Jurrjens||3-4||11||11||0||0||0||0||62.1||55||34||32||7||23||47||4.62||1.25|
Friday, 7:35-ish (Tom Glavine will have his jersey retired on Friday. If you're in the area, you HAVE to go to the Ted.)
|2010 - Barry Zito||8-6||22||22||1||0||0||0||143.2||124||55||54||12||54||104||3.38||1.24|
|2010 - Tommy Hanson||8-8||22||22||1||0||0||0||127.0||129||61||54||8||38||127||3.83||1.31|
|2010 - Matt Cain||9-8||23||22||3||2||0||0||151.0||120||53||50||13||50||113||2.98||1.13|
|2010 - Tim Hudson||12-5||23||22||1||0||0||0||148.2||117||40||39||10||52||77||2.36||1.14|
|2010 - Jonathan Sanchez||8-6||23||22||0||0||0||0||128.0||101||54||48||13||65||136||3.38||1.30|
|2010 - Derek Lowe||10-9||24||23||0||0||0||0||135.2||140||69||67||13||51||87||4.44||1.41|
Pretty sweet pitching match-ups, if you ask me.
This is a big series, folks. The Giants are a fine team, and they as good as a chance as we do of playing October baseball. Hopefully, our Braves will be up to the task. I'm thinking a series split will be in order, but I think either team could end up winning the series. A sweep would be huge for either team, and would probably establish that team as the team to beat in the National League.