After taking three of four from the San Francisco Giants, Atlanta takes on another N.L. West foe in the Arizona Diamondbacks. The D-Backs are leading the West with a record of 69-55, 2.5 games ahead of the Giants.
This past weekend, Arizona lost two of three to the juggernaut Philadelphia Phillies.
As a team, Arizona is tenth in the National League in batting average (.248), tied for seventh in on-base average (.317), third in slugging percentage (.414), fifth in wOBA (.320), and seventh in wRC+ (94).
Individually, the Diamondbacks offense will go as far as Justin Upton carries it. Only 23 years old, Upton is having an incredible season and rocketing toward stardom. He's hitting .300/.372/.552 with a .398 wOBA and a team leading wRC+ of 146. Upton has launched 25 homers on the season and has 18 steals.
Looking past Upton, Ryan Roberts is hitting .259/.351/.447 with a wRC+ of 116 in addition to 16 home runs and 14 steals. The average and on-base average isn't there for Chris Young, but he's supplying good power with 17 home runs and a triple slash line of .236/.318/.421 to go along with 17 steals.
Outfielder Gerardo Parra is hitting .290/.353/.427 while catcher Miguel Montero is at .269/.341/.441 with 12 homers. Kelly Johnson continues to battle through a tough season at the plate. He's popped 18 homers but with a triple slash line of only .208/.289/.413. He also has 12 steals.
Of course, Stephen Drew is out for the season after his nasty injury that caused him to fracture his ankle. In his stead is Willie Bloomquist, who is hitting .265/.316/.350. Rookie first baseman Paul Goldschmidt who was called up recently, is hitting .298/.353/.596 with four homers in 51 plate appearances.
Arizona is second in the National League in home runs with 139 and fourth in the National League in steals with 97, so those will be two things Atlanta will need to keep in check during the three-game series.
Pitching match-ups and the D-Backs bullpen after the jump.
Friday August 19th, 7:35 EDT
In game one of the series, Derek Lowe (7-11, 4.89 ERA, 3.56 FIP, 3.62 xFIP) takes on Daniel Hudson. So far in 2011, Hudson is 12-8 with a 3.76 ERA, 2.98 FIP, and a 3.64 xFIP. He strikes out a decent 6.80 batters per nine innings, but doesn't walking many at all with a BB/9 of only 1.96. After using his curve-ball sparingly last season, he has scrapped it completely and has become a three-pitch pitcher. Hudson features a fastball that he throws pretty hard at an average velocity of 93.2 miles per hour. He features a change-up and a slider in addition to the fastball, and the change is more used among the two. In his last outing, Hudson went eight innings against the Mets, giving up four runs (two earned) while scattering eight hits, walking two, and striking out four en route to a win.
Saturday August 20th, 7:10 PM EDT
In game two of the series, Brandon Beachy (5-2, 3.43 ERA, 3.60 FIP, 3.33 xFIP) takes on Wade Miley who will be making his major league debut in place of the injured Jason Marquis. After starting the season out in AA where he made 14 starts, Miley jumped up to AAA and impressed in eight starts there. In those eight starts, he went 4-1 with a 3.64 ERA, striking out 56 and walking only 16 in 54.1 innings. From looking around today, Miley throws a fastball that should be around 92-93 with a pretty good slider and a good change-up. The Braves struggle against left-handers, so it will be interesting to see how they handle the rookie on Saturday.
Sunday August 21st, 1:35 PM EDT
Tim Hudson (12-7, 3.13 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 3.50 FIP) takes on Josh Collmenter in the series finale. Collmenter in 2011 has gone 7-7 with a 3.47 ERA, 3.44 FIP, 4.02 xFIP so far. He doesn't strike out a ton of batters with a K/9 of 6.21 but doesn't walk many either with a BB/9 of only 1.69. Collmenter throws five pitches technically, but barely uses his slider so it's more like four pitches. He features a regular fastball and a cutter, both of which have an average velocity of just over 87 miles per hour. He throws his change-up a lot, using it 26.3% of the time this season. In his last start, he went 6.2 innings against the Phillies, giving up two runs and eight hits while walking one and striking out eight in a no-decision. Collmenter faced Atlanta on May 19th, holding the Braves to 2 hits and no runs over six solid innings.
J.J. Putz -RH (CL)
David Hernandez -RH
Joe Paterson -LH
Micah Owings -RH
Zach Duke -LH
Bryan Shaw -RH
Brad Zeigler -RH
The Diamondbacks bullpen is tenth in ERA (3.74), sixth in FIP (3.71), and tenth in xFIP (3.91). Closer J.J. Putz has pitched pretty well, recording 30 saves on the season. Hernandez has thrown 54.1 innings out of the pen and has been impressive, sporting a K/9 of 10.10 and a 2.55 FIP. Paterson is the main lefty used by Arizona, although Duke has made his last seven appearances as a reliever.