Series preview: Braves at Astros

When (TV): 8:05 p.m. Friday (SPSO), 7:05 p.m. Saturday (SPSO), 2:05 p.m. Sunday (FSSO), 8:05 p.m. Monday (SPSO).

Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5

Probable starting pitchers:

Friday: Braves RH Tim Hudson (4-5, 4.14 ERA) vs. RH Aneury Rodriguez (0-3, 5.28).

Saturday: Braves LH Mike Minor (0-2, 5.06) vs. RH Jordan Lyles (0-1, 4.91).

Sunday: Braves RH Tommy Hanson (7-4, 2.59) vs. RH Brett Myers (2-5, 5.02).

Monday: RH Derek Lowe (3-4, 3.73) vs. TBA

About the Braves

• Batting: Chipper Jones has a .387 average with 18 doubles, seven homers, 28 RBIs and 1.178 OPS in 35 games at Minute Maid Park, where he had a season-ending knee injury Aug. 10, 2010…. Brian McCann was 23-for-65 (.354) with five homers in his past 17 games before Thursday, and led major league catchers with 62 hits. He’s hit .364 with two homers and eight RBIs in 11 games at Houston.

• Pitching: Hudson is 0-3 with a 6.66 ERA in his past five starts, lasting five innings or fewer in three of those games. He is 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA in five career starts against the Astros, including 1-0 with 1.06 ERA in two at Houston, where he’s allowed just two runs and seven hits in 17 innings.

• Miscellaneous: Braves pitchers led the majors with a 2.99 ERA before Thursday, including 3.29 by starters (second in the NL) and 2.50 by relievers (also second in the NL). … Jonny Venters’ majors-leading 0.48 ERA was a half-run better than any other pitcher before Friday. The lefty setup man was tied for the majors lead with 14 holds, and in his past 32 appearances Venters had an astounding 0.25 ERA with 39 strikeouts, 11 walks, 16 hits and one earned run in 35-2/3 innings.

About the Astros

• Batting: Carlos Lee is 17-for-39 (.347) with five doubles, a homer and five strikeouts his past 13 games, with a .429 OBP. He’s 11-for-29 with a homer against Hudson…. Michael Bourn is 13-for-38 (.342) with two doubles, a triple and five RBIs in his past nine games, and has stolen eight bases without getting caught in that period.

• Pitching: On Friday and Saturday the Braves face rookies they’ve never seen before, the kind of pitchers who seem to give them fits in recent years. Friday starter Aneury Rodriguez spent time in Houston bullpen before moving into the rotation. It’s the eighth start for the right-hander. He’s 0-3 with a 5.74 ERA in his past six starts, with 37 hits and five homers allowed in 31-1/3 innings.

• Miscellaneous: The Astros were tied for third in the NL with a .261 batting average before Thursday, and had 52 stolen bases – third in the league – while being caught just eight times. … Their 4.54 ERA was the second-highest in the NL, and they had allowed more homers (67) than any NL team except the Reds (72)…. The Astros lost four of their past five games before Thursday, scoring 14 runs in that stretch while posting a 4.71 ERA.

– DAVID O’BRIEN

39 comments Add your comment

ted william's head

June 9th, 2011
8:20 pm

maybe they can hit these guys. na

[...] Atlanta Braves [...]

Peter

June 9th, 2011
8:29 pm

You enjoy writing the Astros series preview or you let the interns handle this one

ryan c

June 9th, 2011
11:55 pm

Can we sneak Pence on the plane after the series in Houston?

NickB

June 10th, 2011
4:00 am

let us hope that Uggla can take advantage of the short porch there and gain some confidence back…

Gio

June 10th, 2011
8:18 am

Hudson needs a bounce back outing and this could be the one, but then again Rookie pitchers give us problems. I’d like to see Uggla get on track but Houston could be the worse place for him to play at this point. Short porch in LF could cause even more of a problem than a solution.

Jonny Venters' Left Arm

June 10th, 2011
9:32 am

I am a man among boys.

joe

June 10th, 2011
10:49 am

Let’s hope Uggla doesn’t go 0-for-Houston this weekend.

1eyedJack

June 10th, 2011
10:55 am

Minute Maid Park could get some Braves out of their slump or give some Braves some bad habits.

jch

June 10th, 2011
11:12 am

Nick B – the porch isn’t short enough. On the rare occasion Uggs makes contact it’s usually a pop-up to 2B

Capt. Obvious

June 10th, 2011
11:50 am

Dear Fredi,

Venters is your best reliever with Closer stuff. While Kimbrel throws harder, he doesn’t have the stomach to do it yet. Let Kimbrel set up and Venters close. At least this way, we will have 3 more outs to make up Kimbrels blown lead. PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

Sweet Old Buck

June 10th, 2011
12:03 pm

jch

June 10th, 2011
12:26 pm

Leave Kimbrel and Venters where they are.

Here’s a novel idea, how about giving them more than 1 run to play with????? Every closer gives up runs, or am I missing the list of 0.00 ERA guys, K’s 3.19 is about average. Which tells you the reason he has so many blown saves is because he only has 1 run to work with on most occasions.

Consider is 3.19 for a moment. Assuming he pitches 1 inning/outing this means he will give up 1 run every 3rd time out. 1 run in 3 games. If he had 2 runs to work with every now and then he would be able to get away with this.

As is, he’s 1 S off the MLB lead for saves; as a rookie!

The offense is making him walk a tight rope every time out. Give him some room to work and see how he does – like most of the other closers in the league.

———–

Does anyone know if there is a stat kept showing average lead a closer inherits? I bet Kimbrel’s is close to the lowest in the league.

Chop101

June 10th, 2011
1:29 pm

Aneury Rodriguez has a sexy record of 0-3 with a spectacular 5.28 ERA. Wonderful, this will either be really enjoyable to watch as the Braves may get some hits and score a few runs or very painful as they may very well go scoreless through nine. I hope Huddy can rebound and display his proper form.

On an off note, maybe the Ted should bring their fans closer to the field in the outfield so that we may interfere with long balls hit by the opposing team

Damon Dingle Barryhill

June 10th, 2011
1:37 pm

A pitcher we’ve never seen before, a team that can hit, and a very hittable Huddy on the mound. I’m not too optimistc about this — 8-1 Astros

BRAVES FAN IN NJ

June 10th, 2011
1:38 pm

Come on guys 3 out of 4 would be very nice!!!!

TomahawkChoppin'

June 10th, 2011
2:01 pm

DOB,

Any update on Medlen’s status? He should be getting close to throwing BP? What about Moylan? Hows the back? Any rehab on it yet?

Thanks

KnightInATL

June 10th, 2011
2:07 pm

Looks like it will be Wandy Rodriguez toeing the rubber on Monday for Houston.

Mark (another one)

June 10th, 2011
2:09 pm

Their scariest pitcher is TBA. I hate TBA. So do the Braves.

David O'Brien

June 10th, 2011
2:09 pm

TomahawkChoppin’, we’ve updated Moylan and Medlen with every development. Carroll had a note a few days ago about his scar-tissue setback, no big deal but they were pulling him back a bit after he had what is pretty common scar-tissue breakup while throwing 1-1/2 weeks ago. He’s still on pace for return around the 12-month mark in mid/late August, but that’s just a general target.

Moylan was targeting August, hopeful he can return in August. He’s not doing much yet, has to let back heal from surgery before dives into any serious rehab work.

choozer

June 10th, 2011
2:11 pm

Another aspect of Kimbrel’s problem is frequency of use. He’s one of the most heavily used closers, so he is less often fresh and also very exposed, a large sample size for scouting.

SteveMac

June 10th, 2011
2:20 pm

Jason Heyward could learn something from Jonathan Taylor. Stop being a baby, and put your team first. Look at your teammates and others around you playing in pain, or have it worse. By the way to all those Jeff Francoeur haters, guess how he’s doing with KC? He’s batting .281, has 9 homeruns and 40 rbi’s. He has more homeruns than any players on the Braves team right now. I also remember Francoeur playing through injuries when he was at the Braves. So much for “the chosen one” Heyward.

Gil In Mechanicsville

June 10th, 2011
2:35 pm

I’m hoping that my observation of Hudson still being bother by a bad back is off the mark, that said, his sinker/two seamer has not had much sink. It has looked much like Derrek Lowe’s sinker did last summer. Way too flat. Even the balls being hit for outs have been hit hard.

mvprado

June 10th, 2011
2:39 pm

I love all the people on here taking shots at Heyward – they will be the same ones praising him when he is raking. And he WILL rake.

Get well, Jey Hey, and be the spark this offense needs when you get back! I, for one, will be pulling for you to come back with a chip on that injured shoulder and show all of the skeptics how much of a factor you can really be!

TomahawkChoppin'

June 10th, 2011
2:41 pm

Thanks DOB. Saw the posts just didn’t know if there was anymore recent news. Here’s hoping Medlen can regain form. Flat hat Meds is my favorite starter.

NickB

June 10th, 2011
2:55 pm

Frenchy was terrible for us though, and he was a whiny bitch so we moved him. The fact that he went to stress free KC and has done fairly well doesn’t mean he would’ve ever done that in Atlanta. Besides, the season ain’t over yet, he could very well revert back to his old ways soon. Even if he doesn’t, good for him, he found a place where he can succeed.

Heisenberg

June 10th, 2011
3:02 pm

Dang, looks like the ‘Stros have lined up their 4 aces / future HoFers for this series. It is bad enough Braves pitchers gotta throw a shutout to win, but now they even have to drive in the winning run!

Heisenberg

June 10th, 2011
3:13 pm

As for Heyward, it may not be a question of whether he can play dinged up or not but can he play effectively while hurt. His short track record so far suggests the answer is NO. I disagree with Chippers comments that 80% of Heyward is better than 100% of most guys. So far this season a less than 100% of Heyward bats 214. This is not better than most guys (including his replacements) unless I am looking at the list upside down.

Maybe as he matures (as a player – not as a person) he will learn to adjust his game so he can be effective when less than 100%. But for now he needs to be 100% or he hurts the team.

K.C. Frenchy

June 10th, 2011
3:33 pm

DOB, Moylan was busy last Friday night, judging a Hooters bikini contest in Kennesaw while his teammates were in NY, nice way to rehab & getting paid, where can we all apply for a JOB like this???

Skip Caray

June 10th, 2011
3:38 pm

Hey Folks, Skip Caray broadcasting from the grave where I just found Dan Uggla’s swing…..

The Lemmer

June 10th, 2011
3:41 pm

Update: our 2nd base combo platoon of Brooksie/Ugglier is @ .341 avg., Conrad @ .171 & Uggly @ .170, looking at his stats for last year 33 bombs, 105 rbi, 100 scored, & .287 avg. WOW what a distant memory that has become, where would we be IF he was doing that this year, probably leading the Phils by a few games, Oh well we can all dream about what could be!!!!! Cmon man, Uggly man up!!!!!!!!

Heisenberg

June 10th, 2011
3:45 pm

Even better Lemmer is our CF combo is threat to be the first to hit 400 since Ted Williams!

schmeckdawg

June 10th, 2011
3:49 pm

I would like to know who is the genius that makes the travel plans for MLB. I mean the Braves go to New York, then Miami, then Houston. I think it would have made more sense to do the opposite, Fla., TX and then NY or Fla, NY and then TX then take it to the crib…just asking!

Again, I am not a travel agent!!!!!!!!

Ghostrider

June 10th, 2011
3:54 pm

@ SteveMac

you are so right….Heyward has missed, if I’m not mistaking 19 Games What the hell is up with that.

Kentavo

June 10th, 2011
3:57 pm

I think I’m going to have an Anuery-ism watching this game…O-fer rookie pitcher Braves have never seen before with 5-plus ERA and the NL’s worst team? Recipe for disasater. I’d rather see the Braves play the 27 Yankees – at least then they’d have a fighting chance.
Also, I’m in the camp that thinks there’s something wrong with Hudson (yeah, I know, stiff back), but I think it’s more than is being divulged.

Casey Strikes Out

June 10th, 2011
4:31 pm

Uggla batting 2nd??? WTF? He needs to be bottom of lineup,not @ front. I agree that he should play, but #2 in order?

Slim Shady

June 10th, 2011
4:40 pm

@Casey Strikes Out- Hell Gonzo has to try everything. Was interesting last night starting Conrad at 2nd and it paid immediate dividends..

Heisenberg

June 10th, 2011
4:56 pm

Batting 2nd means cut down the swing, hit to the right, move runner over. Maybe cutting down on swing will break the bad habits? We can only hope.

tman

June 10th, 2011
5:50 pm

tman

June 10th, 2011
5:45 pm
I’ve got a question regarding the closer’s spot. Why is it so important for Kimbrel to be the closer and not Venters? Clearly at this stage of their careers, Venters is the man for the job and we need to quit blowing games, as in Lowe’s fine start the other night. Is Kimbrel so mentally weak that we can’t put him in the set up spot til he gets more time under his belt? I’m sick of the rigidity going on and pat answers with the Braves. Go with whoever is hotter and worry more about winning games instead of hurting someone’s “confidence,” for crying out loud!!

Add your comment