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Series Preview: Braves @ Giants

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The Braves take on the defending champs in a four-game series.

Buster Posey in his natural state: being out.
Buster Posey in his natural state: being out.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta's road trip out west is off to a rough start, and it'll get rougher as the Braves visit the Giants at AT&T Park for a four-game series.

The Giants have won 19 games in May, the most of any team and are breathing down the Dodgers' necks in the NL West as they try to repeat as World Series champs (Spoiler: they won't, with it being an odd-numbered year and all). They've been getting the job done primarily with their offense and new leadoff hitter Nori Aoki, who leads the team with a .322 avg. and .396 OBP; he's tied for the team lead in walks and is the team's stolen base leader with 11; no one else has more than four.

Aoki isn't the only one hitting, though. Including Hunter Pence, who only has 12 games under him since returning from a broken forearm, the regular starting eight for the Giants are all hitting .291 or better. Gregor Blanco had been hitting .271 in Pence's absence. He who was out has been one of the team's hottest hitters, with hits in 20 of 23 games this month. Brandon Crawford, the team RBI leader (and Chip Caray's not-so-secret man-crush), just had an 11-game hitting streak broken on Wednesday. Matt Duffy has taken over the third base job from Casey McGehee, who's not even hitting his weight and was sent to Triple-A.

The pitching staff as a whole is rather average. Even with Madison Bumgarner's and Tim Lincecum's numbers, the staff ERA of 3.68 is near the middle of the pack in the NL. Same story with the bullpen: their 3.21 relief ERA is sixth in the NL.

The Braves will get their first look at rookie starter Chris Heston, while also seeing a familiar face in Tim Hudson, who will make his first start against the Braves since leaving via free agency. Lincecum's ERA may have improved since last year, but his 4.03 FIP suggests something else; plus, his walk rate of 4.1/9 isn't anything to write home about.

BULLPEN
L - Javier Lopez
L - Jeremy Affeldt
R - George Kontos
R - Jean Machi
R - Yusmeiro Petit
R - Hunter Strickland
R - Sergio Romo
R - Santiago Casilla (closer)

BENCH
R - Justin Maxwell (OF)
L - Gregor Blanco (OF)
R - Joaquin Arias (IF)
R - Andrew Susac (C)

PROBABLE STARTERS

Thursday, May 28, 10:15 p.m. ET

ATL: Shelby Miller
2015: 9 starts, 5-1 W-L, 1.50 ERA, 3.24 FIP, 18 BB, 48 K

SFG: Chris Heston
2015: 9 starts, 4-3 W-L, 4.33 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 14 BB, 43 K

Friday, May 29, 10:15 p.m. ET

ATL: Mike Foltynewicz
2015: 5 starts, 3-1 W-L, 4.25 ERA, 3.84 FIP, 12 BB, 30 K

SFG: Tim Hudson
2015: 9 starts, 2-4 W-L, 5.04 ERA, 5.10 FIP, 15 BB, 26 K

Saturday, May 30, 10:05 p.m. ET

ATL: Williams Perez
2015: 2 starts, 13.1 IP, 4.05 ERA, 3.28 FIP, 6 BB, 16 K

SFG: Tim Lincecum
2015: 9 starts, 5-2 W-L, 2.56 ERA, 4.03 FIP, 24 BB, 40 K

Sunday, May 31, 4:05 p.m. ET

ATL: Julio Teheran
2015: 10 starts, 4-2 W-L, 4.91 ERA, 5.17 FIP, 22 BB, 48 K

SFG: Madison Bumgarner
2015: 10 starts, 6-2 W-L, 3.00 ERA, 3.55 FIP, 12 BB, 55 K