Game Thread 6/23: Braves at Brewers

USA TODAY Sports

Trying to salvage at least one game.

1. Jordan Schafer - LF
2. Andrelton Simmons - SS
3. Jason Heyward - RF
4. Freddie Freeman - 1B
5. B.J. Upton - CF
6 - Brian McCann - C
7. Dan Uggla - 2B
8. Chris Johnson - 3B
9. Paul Maholm - P

3.66, 3.67, 3.57 - These are Paul Maholm's ERAs over the past three seasons, including this one. Maholm's first two seasons in the majors were fairly iffy, but the addition of a two-seamer and later a cutter has made Maholm am average to slightly-better-than-average starter over the past few seasons. The lefty isn't terribly overwhelming, but he combines a better-than-average walk rate with tons of groundballs to be another solid Atlanta Braves starting pitcher. In fact, all Braves starting pitchers have a FIP (Fielding-Independent Pitching - using the things pitcher wholly control such as K, BB, and HR to predict ERA; also scaled to ERA) between 3.40-3.90, which means they are all above-average starters. You can win a lot of games with a healthy rotation like that, but you do have to score runs ...

Alfredo Figaro

Figaro_medium

Scouting Report: Figaro definitely throws hard. Pitching primarily off this mid-90s heat, Figaro doesn't mess around. He adds the usual secondary mix of curveball, slider, and change-up. The curveball he'll use against anyone, but the slider (RHH) and change-up (LHH) will depend on what hand the batter is. The righty started the year in the 'pen, but he has moved into the rotation over the past few weeks, still throwing as hard as he did in the 'pen.

Analysis: Figaro last pitched anywhere we can find in 2010, when he pitched with the Tigers. But he's back this season and better than ever. Despite throwing hard, Figaro has learned to harness the heat, and his 4% walk rate has been essential to his success. The nearly-average K% of 19% and the 1.60 GB/FB ratio haven't hurt either, especially after being bad at those things in his prior MLB stints. Even after moving to the rotation, Figaro has maintained excellent production. It might be simply a first-time through mirage, but that won't help the Braves today.

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