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Preview: Giants' Suarez to make first start against Braves

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Albert Suarez and Williams Perez face off in Game Three

Run Mallex run!
Run Mallex run!
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

With Matt Cain on the disabled list due to a strained hamstring, the Giants turn to Albert Suarez for the third game of a four-game set at Turner Field. In case you have no idea who Suarez is, don't feel alone: the 26-year-old was an international free agent signing by the Rays in 2006, and changed teams as a minor league free agent twice. The Giants were the first team to give him a shot in AAA at the beginning of this year, and then promoted him to the major league bullpen a few weeks ago.

Suarez had a 2.98 ERA / 3.68 FIP in AA for the Angels' affiliate there, and a similar 2.88 ERA / 3.98 FIP in 25 innings for AAA-Fresno earlier this season. In 12 relief innings so far, he's pitched to a 2.25 / 3.12 / 4.46 line, and seems to be a generic arm that leans towards groundballs and good control without blowing anyone away. He was pristine in his first seven innings of major league work, before allowing three runs in a five-inning relief stretch against the Rockies last Friday. Those five innings were in relief of Cain, so Suarez is smoothly just sliding right into that spot, almost as though he's making a second start at this point.

The Braves will counter with Williams Perez, who is looking for his third surprisingly good start in a row. A couple of weeks ago, he pitched 6.1 scoreless against the Phillies, and followed that up with allowing two runs in six innings to the Marlins. Amusingly, at 2-1, he has the best pitcher "record" on the starting staff (Matt Wisler is 2-5, Mike Foltynewicz is 2-2).

Perez has had a weird but successful-to-date season, which first saw him being shuttled to and from Gwinnett while lasting just a few innings in each start, and then improving in fits and starts after he was called up to take the traded Jhoulys Chacin's spot in the rotation. His 3.82 FIP nearly matches his 3.72 ERA, and while he's suppressed homers well so far to get those shiny numbers, a big change has been the dip in his walk rate, which has elevated him from no-value junkballer status. Still, that dip in walks has come with a commensurate falloff in strikeouts, so it remains to be seen what happens if his HR/FB-against and BABIP-against bounce back to more "normal" levels.

On the hitting side, let's talk about Mallex Smith, because there's not much else to say. He's second on the team in home runs and RBI, and first on the team in ISO. Those are some weird facts. He's still not hitting that well in total (88 wRC+), but he's been dandy against righties (128 wRC+) while being absolutely obliterated by lefties.

One guy for Perez to watch out for: Denard Span. Span has 12 hits in his last six games, including the big go-ahead hit last night, and Perez generally pitches worse to lefties. Perez has also never retired Buster Posey, despite his eternal status of being the one who was out.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Wednesday, June 1, 7:05 p.m. ET

Location: Turner Field

TV: Fox Sports Southeast

Radio: WYAY 106.7, Braves Radio Network, 680 AM/93.7 FM