Series Preview: Braves vs. Giants

You were out. - Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves are certainly glad to be back home after a very bleh series in Miami; they welcome the Giants into Atlanta for a three-game weekend series. Mike Minor will finally make his season debut after rehabbing from penis surgery.

The NL West-leading Giants have won six of seven, and are leading the division largely without the contributions of Pablo Sandoval, who's hitting just .177 with only six RBI. They've been winning thanks to the hitting of Angel Pagan, who leads the team in hitting (.340) and OBP (.380), and Hunter Pence with his nine-game hitting streak during which he's hitting .429 (15 for 35) with six RBI, eight runs scored and only one strikeout, which is incredible considering his elbows are stapled to his knees. He also stares at you when you're not looking and puts whispers in your head.

Buster Posey has also been hot lately (even though he was, and always will be, out) with eight hits in his last five games, but he's been a pest to the Braves. In 20 games, he's hitting .338 with 16 RBI against Atlanta. At Turner Field, he's hitting .400, so a game with no Posey hits is a good game.

The Braves will not see Tim Hudson, who signed a two-year contract with the Giants in the offseason, in this series; he's been a large part of the team's success so far with four wins in six starts, and has lasted at least seven innings in each of them; he has 31 strikeouts as opposed to just two walks, both of which came in one start. The rest of the Giants rotation, specifically the three starters the Braves will face, have been considerably less effective. Both Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong possess an ERA over 5.00, but Vogelsong tossed seven shutout innings in his last start. Madison Bumgarner's been the better of the three, but so far has been very unlucky with a .390 BABIP.

The saving grace for the Giants has been the bullpen. While the starting rotation has a 3.86 ERA, Giants relievers are second only to San Diego in the NL with a 2.05 ERA. Jeremy Affeldt, Jean Machi, Javier Lopez and Santiago Casilla have all done an excellent job bridging the gap to Sergio Romo. These four combined have allowed all of four runs in 42.1 innings.

Friday, May 2, 7:35 p.m. ET

Mike Minor (ATL)

2014 season debut

Tim Lincecum (SFG)

5 starts, 1-1 W-L, 5.96 ERA, 4.77 FIP, .395 BABIP

Saturday, May 3, 7:10 p.m. ET

Julio Teheran (ATL)

6 starts, 2-1 W-L, 1.47 ERA, 3.53 FIP, .224 BABIP

Ryan Vogelsong (SFG)

5 starts, 0-1 W-L, 5.40 ERA, 6.13 FIP, .304 BABIP

Sunday, May 4, 1:35 p.m. ET

Alex Wood (ATL)

6 starts, 2-4 W-L, 2.93 ERA, 3.18 FIP, .306 BABIP

Madison Bumgarner (SFG)

6 starts, 2-3 W-L, 3.74 ERA, 3.64 FIP, .390 BABIP

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