Game Thread 7/31: Rockies at Braves

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

With two already in the win column, the Braves look to take the series tonight and keep a potential 4-game sweep in the offing.

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  1. Jason Heyward - CF
  2. Justin Upton - RF
  3. Freddie Freeman - 1B
  4. Evan Gattis - LF
  5. Brian McCann - C
  6. Chris Johnson - 3B
  7. Dan Uggla - 2B
  8. Andrelton Simmons - SS
  9. Mike Minor - P

The new lineup seems to be working great. Five games in, the Braves have scored 31 runs for an average of 6.2 runs in that span. That sounds awesome - it is - but it also needs context. 20 of those runs have come against a rotation with the 6th worst ERA in baseball, and the other 11 came in 3 games against a playoff team. While I and many of us love the new lineup, it's simply to early to tell whether it's "working." We'll just have to wait and see, but the logic behind the change is sound, even if Simmons is hitting .294/.321/.549 over the past 2 weeks and .260/.301/.479 in July. Made total sense to do it during that stretch. Oh well. At least it happened.

Tyler Chatwood

Chatwood_medium

Scouting Report: Tyler Chatwood is a fastball-heavy pitcher, though he alternates between a four-seamer and a sinker. The sinker is effective at keeping the ball on the ground, and he throws it hard, averaging 93 mph. In addition to his fastballs, he'll throw his secondaries depending on the handedness of the hitter. Righties will see a lot of sliders and a few curves, but lefties will get more curves and changes. Chatwood doesn't particularly favor one pitch or another for the strikeout.

Analysis: After a pretty sad 2012 campaign, Chatwood has really turned it on in 2013. His K rate has risen to 17% from 14%, and his walk rate has lowered from 11% to a league-average 8%. The righty does all of this while maintaining a 2.51 GB/FB that is spectacular. Despite the solid peripherals, the 2.48 ERA is largely a mirage, and if his HR rate goes toward the league average of 10.5%, he'll resemble the 3.54 xFIP pitcher more than the 2.50 ERA pitcher. A 3.50 ERA pitcher is plenty valuable, however, and makes him a solid 3 if he can maintain his peripherals.

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