Braves Vs. Giants, Game 3: Wild Ride Ends In 9-6 Win For Atlanta, Series Sweep

The Braves return to where the end began last season as they play three games against the defending champion Giants. San Francisco knocked Atlanta out of the playoffs in the NLDS last year.

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Braves Vs. Giants: Nate McLouth Singles In Go-Ahead Runs In 10th As Braves Sweep

Sunday, April 24
(11-12) Atlanta Braves - 9
(10-11) San Francisco Giants - 6 (10 Innings)

Box Score
Play-By-Play

Video Highlights

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In one of the most up and down games you will see this season, the Braves survived the ride with three runs in the 10th to win, 9-6, and take the series sweep over the defending champion Giants.

Despite a ton of runs scored in the final innings, the Braves started the scoring in the first when Chipper Jones doubled home two runs, worth .106 WPA. However, despite there being no outs, Chipper was left stranded on second base.

The Braves held to a two-run lead until the fourth when Buster Posey turned on a changeup left up in the zone for a two-run homer, tying the game at two, worth .251 WPA.

Neither team managed anything until the seventh, and that is when the floodgates opened. Brandon Hicks walked with one out and Martin Prado walked with two outs, and that was followed by a three-run homer by Jason Heyward to take a 5-2 lead, worth .410 WPA. The pitch was a hanging curve by Jeremy Affeldt.

But it didn't take long for the Giants to respond again. In the home half of the seventh, with Jairo Asencio on the mound, the Giants reached base on three consecutive singles to load them up for the 8-9 hitters with one out. Asencio gave in to Miguel Tejada on a 3-2 count and walked him, bringing home a run, worth .131 WPA. Pinch hitter Nate Schierholtz followed with a groundout to first base that Freddie Freeman took to the bag, allowing another run to score but making it two outs with a 5-4 game, worth -.013 WPA. However, Aaron Rowand provided the big blow of the inning by doubling home two to take a 6-5 lead, worth .434 WPA, the biggest swing in the game. The blast was probably the result of leaving Asencio in too long despite it being obvious he didn't have good command.

But alas, the Braves answered right back in the eighth and quickly, as Dan Uggla hit a solo homer to lead off the inning to tie the game at six, worth .269 WPA. Nothing happened until the 10th inning when the Braves ended things off closer Brian Wilson, but it didn't come easy. Heyward and Chipper singled to lead off the inning, followed by a walk from Uggla to load the bases with no outs. But Freeman struck out and Eric Hinske grounded out, forcing Heyward out at home for the second out. Nate McLouth came through in the clutch, drilling a single up the middle and plating Chipper and Uggla for a two-run lead, worth .396 WPA. Brian McCann followed with a RBI single for a three-run lead, worth .037.

Brandon Beachy turned in a solid performance for the Braves, allowing two runs on the Posey homer and just three hits in six innings, not walking any and striking out seven. It's the type of outing the Braves came to expect from Beachy in the minor leagues, and we have now seen it in back-to-back outings at the major league level. His three ground balls and seven fly balls are also expected, as is the command up in the zone at times, but no walks is huge for his type of game.

While he may not show up in the highlights, Prado again gave a great effort from the leadoff spot despite not recording a hit, because he walked twice and scored twice, and his play in this game was worth .006 WPA. The best part was seeing a team-high 26 pitches, including 12 balls. When Prado walks, the Braves win.

Heyward has turned it on as of late, and it's coming at a good time following a 0-14 stretch before the Giants series. He must like San Francisco because he went 7-12 with a homer and four RBIs, two walks and two strikeouts in the series. He has also received some good luck via grounders through holes, but Heyward is looking more comfortable at the plate.

Stat of the Day:
The Braves swept the Giants in San Francisco for the first time since 1998.

The Game Changer:
Aaron Rowand's two-run double in the seventh put the Giants ahead, 6-5, worth .434 WPA.

WPA Winners:
(ATL) Jason Heyward: .578
(ATL) Chipper Jones: .404
(SF) Aaron Rowand: .334

WPA Losers:
(ATL) Jairo Asencio: -.694
(SF) Jeremy Affeldt: -.398
(SF) Brian Wilson: -.314

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Giants fans check out McCovey Chronicles.

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Braves Vs. Giants Final Score: Atlanta Pulls Out 9-6 Win In Extra Innings; Seals Sweep Of San Francisco

A wild ride in the series finale between the Braves and Giants ended with a three-run 10th inning for Atlanta, defeating San Francisco 9-6 and taking the series sweep.

The scoring started in the first inning when Chipper Jones doubled home two. The Giants answered in the fourth with a two-run home run by Buster Posey to tie it at two.

The score remained tied until the seventh when Jason Heyward hit a three-run home run to the deepest part of the right field wall, giving Atlanta a 5-2 lead. However, the lead quickly diminished in the home half with Jairo Asencio on the mound. The Giants rallied for four runs with the big hit coming on a two-run double by Aaron Rowand.

But, once again, the other team answered. Dan Uggla hit a solo homer to lead off the eighth to tie it at six. The score remained tied 6-6 until the 10th when Nate McLouth provided the big shot with two outs and the bases loaded, singling up the middle to plate two. Brian McCann followed with a RBI single for a three-run lead.

Brandon Beachy pitched a solid six innings for the Braves, giving up just three hits with no walks and striking out seven. The homer to Posey was the only real mistake, and he actually faced the minimum through three. Beachy induced three flyouts to four flyouts. Back-to-back good outings for him.

Asencio allowed four runs in 0.2 innings of relief. He was probably left in too long once it was obvious he didn't have good control. Eric O'Flaherty was big with two scoreless innings. Jonny Venters pitched a scoreless 10th for the save.

Heyward went 3-5 with a double, homer and three RBIs. Chipper went 2-3 with a double and two RBIs. McLouth picked up two RBIs, McCann had one and Uggla had one on a homer, adding two walks. Prado added two walks and two runs scored.

Jonathan Sanchez allowed two runs on two hits in five innings for the Giants, walking three and striking out five. Jeremy Affeldt gave up three runs on the Heyward homer. Sergio Romo gave up the Uggla homer. Brian Wilson gave up the game in the 10th with all three runs allowed.

Posey went 1-4 with a homer and two RBIs. Pablo Sandoval and Pat Burrell each had two hits.

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Giants fans check out McCovey Chronicles.

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Braves Vs. Giants Score: Buster Posey Two-Run Homer Ties Game At Two Through Five Innings

A two-run double by Chipper Jones put the Braves ahead in the first, but Buster Posey struck in the fourth with a two-run homer to tie the game at two through five.

Brandon Beachy entered the fourth having retired the minimum, no hits or walks and four strikeouts. But after a two-out double to Aubrey Huff, Posey crushed a hanging changeup to left field to tie it.

Despite entering the fourth with a perfect game, Beachy's command hasn't been perfect. He has left a few balls up like the Posey pitch and has received some luck, especially on fly balls. He does have six strikeouts through five innings.

Following a leadoff walk by Martin Prado and Jason Heyward double to put both in scoring position in the first inning, Chipper plated both with a double down the left field line. However, despite no outs in the inning, Chipper was stranded on second.

Jonathan Sanchez has walked three in five innings but only two runs on two hits with five strikeouts. The walks come with the strikeout ability for Sanchez, and he's showing it again today. It has also resulted in a high pitch count, which sits at 86 through five.

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Braves Vs. Giants: Atlanta Goes For A Series Sweep Of San Francisco

Following two solid wins that included a poor outing by Tim Lincecum, the Braves are on the verge of a series sweep against the defending world champions. But the Giants are sending another tough pitcher to the hill to salvage a win.

Braves Lineup:
1. Martin Prado, LF
2. Jason Heyward, RF
3. Chipper Jones, 3B
4. Dan Uggla, 2B
5. Freddie Freeman, 1B
6. David Ross, C
7. Nate McLouth, CF
8. Brandon Hicks, SS
9. Brandon Beachy, SP

Giants Lineup:
1. Aaron Rowand, CF
2. Freddy Sanchez, 2B
3. Aubrey Huff, 1B
4. Buster Posey, C
5. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
6. Pat Burrell, LF
7. Cody Ross, RF
8. Miguel Tejada, SS
9. Jonathan Sanchez, SP

Brandon Beachy (23.1 IP, 3.86 ERA, 3.91 FIP, 3.59 xFIP, 3.47 BB/9, 9.26 K/9, 34.4 GB%, 10.4 SwStr%)
(65.7 FB%, 15.7 SL%, 9.5 CB%, 9.2 CH%; 45.6 Swing%, 76.1 Contact%)
vs.
Jonathan Sanchez (23 IP, 3.13 ERA, 2.58 FIP, 3.33 xFIP, 4.3 BB/9, 10.96 K/9, 38.3 GB%, 13.1 SwStr%)
(60.9 FB%, 19.9 CH%, 19.2 SL%; 45.1 Swing%, 70.5 Contact%)

Beachy had a much better outing last time out, pitching six shutout innings on two hits against the Dodgers, walking two and striking out seven. It was a return to the Beachy we know, which is great command and high strikeout totals. Once his walk rate begins to fall, he will become much more consistent, and judging by his minor league numbers, it will happen.

Sanchez has been solid through four starts, allowing no more than four runs or three earned runs in any start. His 28 strikeouts in 23 innings is the best rate of his career to this point, and while walks have always been the main issue with Sanchez, they have remained somewhat in check so far. Sanchez allowed three runs on just two hits in 6.1 innings against the Rockies last time out, walking four and striking out four.

Opposing Numbers:
A few Braves have put together some hits against Sanchez. Martin Prado is 3-8 with three walks. David Ross is 2-9 with a home run. Nate McLouth is 3-7 with a home run. Dan Uggla 1-5, while Chipper Jones is 2-5 with a home run and three RBIs. Jason Heyward is 0-5 with four strikeouts.

The Giants have never seen Beachy.

What to Look For:
The Braves are going for their first sweep of the Giants in San Francisco since 1998. To do so, they will need to string some hits together against Sanchez, who tends to lose his control and consistency at times. Working walks should be key.

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Braves Vs. Giants: Tim Hudson Outduels Tim Lincecum For Atlanta's Second Straight Win Over San Francisco

Saturday, April 23
(10-12) Atlanta Braves - 5
(10-10) San Francisco Giants - 2

Box Score
Play-By-Play

Video Highlights

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The Braves took advantage of a career-worst type of day by Tim Lincecum, scoring five runs off him for a 5-2 win. Lincecum had a career-high six walks to go along with five runs allowed in 6.1 innings.

The two teams actually battled back and forth for the first six innings, as the Braves led 2-1 through six. But first, the Giants started the scoring in the second when Cody Ross singled up the middle to plate Pat Burrell, who had doubled as the previous batter, worth .098 WPA.

The Braves answered in the third when Nate McLouth singled, moved to second on a Tim Hudson walk and scored on a single by Martin Prado, worth .122 WPA.

With the game tied in the fourth, Burrell singled to lead off the inning. After Cody Ross struck out, Burrell advanced to second on an error by Prado that allowed Miguel Tejada to reach. However, Eli Whiteside grounded into a double play to end the inning, worth -.103 WPA.

The Braves took advantage in the fifth by taking the lead. With one out, McLouth walked and moved to second on a Hudson sac bunt. With two outs, Prado singled to plate McLouth and give the Braves a one-run lead, worth .149 WPA, the biggest swing in the game.

Again, the Giants couldn't take advantage of a baserunner in the fifth. Lincecum singled to start the inning, but Aaron Rowand grounded into a double play to erase the threat, worth -.113 WPA.

Lincecum's struggles finally caught up to him in the seventh. Alex Gonzalez doubled to lead off the inning, McLouth walked and Hudson moved them both into scoring position. Prado grounded to second base where Freddy Sanchez threw home, but the throw was late and Gonzalez scored, worth .076 WPA. The big blow came with two outs when Brian McCann singled in two runs off Javier Lopez for a five-run lead, worth .103 WPA. Both runs were charged to Lincecum.

The Giants didn't lay down, however. Burrell reached base for the third time with a double to lead off the ninth. Ross singled for the second time to move Burrell to third, worth .052 WPA. But Tejada's sac fly RBI was worth -.052 WPA, and Nate Schierholtz followed with a strikeout to pretty much end the threat.

Despite 8.2 innings of two-run ball, Hudson wasn't without his own concerns. He gave up several hard hit balls and line drives that found gloves, and a .290 BABIP helped his case some. The two double plays he induced were turning points in the game, as well, and awesome control - 78 strikes over 113 pitches - certainly was a major help to his cause.

Stat of the Day:
Lincecum's six walks are a career-high, yet he has touched five walks 13 separate times in his career.

The Game Changer:
Martin Prado's RBI single in the fifth put the Braves ahead 2-1, worth .149 WPA.

WPA Winners:
(ATL) Martin Prado: .326
(ATL) Tim Hudson: .277
(SF) Cody Ross: .097

WPA Losers:
(ATL) Freddie Freeman: -.187
(SF) Tim Lincecum: -.167
(SF) Aaron Rowand: -.129

Courtesy of FanGraphs:

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Giants fans check out McCovey Chronicles.

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Braves Vs. Giants Final Score: Atlanta Walks To Victory Against Tim Lincecum, 5-2

The Braves took advantage of a career-high six walks from Tim Lincecum with five runs scored, defeating the Giants, 5-2.

In the battle of the Tims, the Braves held the advantage as Tim Hudson went 8.2 innings, allowing two runs on nine hits with no walks and four strikeouts. Seven of the nine hits were singles, and the other two were doubles to Pat Burrell. He induced 10 groundouts to six flyouts. Hudson had a pretty good mix of bad luck and good luck shots, with a few line drives finding gloves.

Hudson fought through a long ninth inning, allowing his second run on a Miguel Tejada sac fly RBI. He battled for two outs at 112 pitches before giving way to Craig Kimbrel, who got Buster Posey on a flyout to end the game.

Martin Prado led the Braves offensively with three RBIs on two singles and a fielder's choice. Prado followed two singles by Nate McLouth with two RBI singles that scored him twice. A fielder's choice in the seventh scored the other when he grounded to second base and a run scored on the throw home.

McLouth reached base three times on a single and two walks, and he scored three times. Such offense is dynamic from the eighth spot, and it led to three runs following two sac bunts and a walk from Hudson. Brian McCann drove in two runs in the seventh on a single, which was big considering it gave the Braves a four-run lead.

The Braves walked six times off Lincecum, who went only 6.1 innings, allowing five runs on six hits and striking out six. He induced 10 groundouts to one flyout, but the control issues finally caught up to him with a three-run seventh. Javier Lopez gave up the hit to McCann that scored two runs.

Burrell went 3-4 with two doubles for the Giants. Ross went 2-4 with one RBI.

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Giants fans check out McCovey Chronicles.

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Braves Vs. Giants Score: Two RBI Singles By Martin Prado Puts Braves Ahead After Five, 2-1

The two Tims have battled through five innings, but the one for the Braves has the advantage to this point. The Braves lead the Giants after five, 2-1.

The Giants scored a run in the second when Pat Burrell doubled with one out, which was followed by a single by Cody Ross that plated him. Nate McLouth came up throwing to the cutoff man instead of full effort for a throw home despite having a very good shot of throwing Burrell out.

McLouth got it back somewhat in the third with a solid single to left, and after Tim Hudson walked, Martin Prado singled McLouth home tie it at one. An almost identical sequence happened in the fifth, as McLouth singled, moved to second on a bunt and scored on a Prado single to put the Braves ahead.

Hudson has allowed six hits but just one for extra bases, and all but one on the ground. However, at the same time, the Giants have been a little unlucky with a few line drives that found gloves. Hudson has allowed no walks with two strikeouts.

Tim Lincecum has allowed two runs on five hits in five innings, walking four and striking out four. His control has been off throughout the game, very evident on the second RBI single by Prado when he left an 0-2 fastball down the middle. He has been able to limit the damage, though.

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Braves Vs. Giants: The Tims Take Over As Tim Hudson Faces Tim Lincecum In Game 2

The Battle of the Tims takes place in a Saturday afternoon game in San Francisco, as Tim Hudson faces Tim Lincecum at 4:10 on FOX.

Braves Lineup:
1. Martin Prado, 3B
2. Jason Heyward, RF
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Brian McCann, C
5. Dan Uggla, 2B
6. Eric Hinske, LF
7. Alex Gonzalez, SS
8. Nate McLouth, CF
9. Tim Hudson, SP

Giants Lineup:
1. Aaron Rowand, CF
2. Freddy Sanchez, 2B
3. Aubrey Huff, 1B
4. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
5. Pat Burrell, LF
6. Cody Ross, RF
7. Miguel Tejada, SS
8. Eli Whiteside, C
9. Tim Lincecum, SP

Tim Hudson (26.2 IP, 4.05 ERA, 3.20 FIP, 3.76 xFIP, 1.69 BB/9, 4.39 K/9, 64 GB%, 6.4 SwStr%)
(60.2 FB%, 17.2 SL%, 11.3 SF%, 4.8 CT%, 4 CH%, 2.5 CB%; 49 Swing%, 86.9 Contact%)
vs.
Tim Lincecum (27 IP, 1.67 ERA, 2.12 FIP, 2.25 xFIP, 2.33 BB/9, 10.67 K/9, 64.1 GB%, 11.2 SwStr%)
(54.5 FB%, 27.1 CH%, 12.1 SL%, 6.2 CB%; 43.2 Swing%, 72.7 Contact%)

Hudson turned in another tough-luck outing against the Dodgers last time out, allowing four runs in six innings. He induced 17 ground balls to to just four fly balls and one line drive. Hudson is turning in another solid ground ball rate so far, sitting in fourth in the National League in GB%. As long as the grounders keep coming, he will be fine.

The other Timmy has a ground ball rate exactly one-tenth of a point better. Lincecum has dominated through four starts, allowing just one run in each of three starts and three runs in the other. His K/BB of 4.57 is his career best so far due to 32 strikeouts in 27 innings. His most recent outing was 7.2 innings of one-run ball on three hits, walking three and striking out 10 while inducing 12 ground balls against the Rockies. His fastball velocity is almost back to 93 MPH while his slider is much sharper and harder. In fact, he's throwing all of his pitches harder. He has laid off some on the curveball while relying more on the changeup and slider.

Opposing Numbers:
A couple Braves have had success against Lincecum in the past. Brian McCann is 9-24 with four doubles, a homer and three RBIs. Alex Gonzalez is 3-10 with a homer and three RBIs. However, that is pretty much where it ends. Jason Heyward is 1-8, Eric Hinske is 1-6, Nate McLouth is 1-6 and Dan Uggla is 0-5. Martin Prado is 2-6.

Hudson has good numbers against the Giants hitters. Pat Burrell is 7-36, Aubrey Huff is 7-25, Freddy Sanchez is 3-24, Cody Ross is 2-18 and Miguel Tejada is 1-12. However, Aaron Rowand is 8-21 and Buster Posey is 3-4.

What to Look For:
With Chipper Jones out, the Braves are looking to Freeman to pick up the slack more than ever considering he is the hottest hitter on the team and is hitting third. Even so, the Braves will miss Chipper's veteran bat against Lincecum. Hudson will need to pitch a good game to keep them close.

Injury Update:
Chipper Jones is out with a sore right knee (non-surgery) (link).

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Giants fans check out McCovey Chronicles.

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Braves Vs. Giants: Atlanta's Four-Run Third Backs Strong Outing By Tommy Hanson

Friday, April 22
(9-12) Atlanta Braves - 4
(10-9) San Francisco Giants - 1

Box Score
Play-By-Play

Video Highlights
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The Braves needed a win in the series opener with the Giants as insurance considering the combination of Tim Lincecum and Jonathan Sanchez due up in the next two games. Luckily for Atlanta, they got to face the struggling Madison Bumgarner, who had allowed 12 earned runs in his previous 14.2 innings.

After two scoreless innings on both sides, the Braves broke through in the third with four runs. Walks by Nate McLouth and Martin Prado put runners on first and second with one out for the middle of the order, which usually ends well. It did this time, as Jason Heyward singled through the hole in right to plate McLouth, worth .150 WPA, the biggest swing in the game. Chipper Jones followed with a double off the right field wall on a high fastball that plated Prado and Heyward, worth .137 WPA.

After Brian McCann struck out for the second out, Dan Uggla reached on an error by Miguel Tejada to keep the inning alive. That set up a RBI single by Freddie Freeman that plated Chipper, worth .059 WPA.

Neither team made a play worth .100+ WPA for the remainder of the game. Pablo Sandoval doubled with one out in the seventh, worth .024 WPA, the Giants' biggest swing in the game. He eventually scored on a groundout by Pat Burrell for their only run.

(Courtesy of Brooks Baseball)

As you can see from the chart, Hanson's command was on point with all of his pitches. He threw 50% fastballs and kept them on the outer half or off the plate throughout. For the most part, the slider was thrown effectively on the outer half and down, and Hanson worked it in much better as the game went on. The curve was thrown sparingly, but it was effective when used.

Stat of the Day:
Jason Heyward's two hits marked his third multi-hit game of the season.

The Game Changer:
Jason Heyward's RBI single in the third put the Braves ahead 1-0, worth .150 WPA.

WPA Winners:
(ATL) Tommy Hanson: .218
(ATL) Jason Heyward: .165
(ATL) Chipper Jones: .099

WPA Losers:
(SF) Madison Bumgarner: -.288
(SF) Freddy Sanchez: -.065
(ATL) Brian McCann: -.047
(SF) Aubrey Huff: -.047

Courtesy of FanGraphs:

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Giants fans check out McCovey Chronicles.

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Braves Vs. Giants Final Score: Tommy Hanson's Seven Strong Innings Gives Atlanta The Win, 4-1

Behind seven innings of one-run ball by Tommy Hanson, the Braves took the opening game of the series over the Giants by the score of 4-1.

Hanson pitched six shutout innings before giving up a run in the seventh. He gave up two singles, one double, one run, one walk and struck out seven. Hanson induced an equal amount of groundouts and flyouts.

The fastball command was on point for Hanson, consistently hitting the outer half and rarely leaving one over the middle or up. Perhaps the one clear mistake that actually cost him was the fastball left up to Pablo Sandoval in the seventh, which he belted in the gap for a double and set up the Giants' only run. The slider was sharper as the outing went on, as was the command. The curveball was very impressive.

The Braves scored all four of their runs in the third inning. Walks by Nate McLouth and Martin Prado set up a RBI single by Jason Heyward, which was followed by a two-run double by Chipper Jones. An error by Miguel Tejada kept the inning alive with two outs, and that was followed by a RBI single by Freddie Freeman for a four-run inning.

Heyward broke through with a 2-4, one RBI day. Chipper added two RBIs on his one hit, a double. Freeman continued his hot hitting with two hits and one RBI. Prado reached base twice on a single and walk.

Giants starter Madison Bumgarner was pulled after 2.2 innings, allowing four runs on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts. His command was off, constantly leaving pitches over the plate, and he left at 67 pitches. Another rough outing for the young left-hander.

Behind Hanson, Jonny Venters made his first appearance since being diagnosed with arm soreness, and he pitched a perfect eighth, including a strikeout on a filthy sinker. Craig Kimbrel bounced back from his blown save with a scoreless ninth.

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Giants fans check out McCovey Chronicles.

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Braves Vs. Giants Score: Madison Bumgarner Pulled In Third; Atlanta Leads Through Three Innings, 4-0

Madison Bumgarner's struggles continued as the Braves got to him for four runs in only 2.2 innings. Atlanta leads through three, 4-0.

The first two innings were scoreless, but the Braves scored four runs off Bumgarner in the third that chased him with two outs. Consecutive walks set up a RBI single by Jason Heyward, his second in the game already. That was followed by a double off the right field wall by Chipper Jones, which scored both runs. After Brian McCann struck out for the second out, Miguel Tejada kept the inning going with a botched grounder, which set up a RBI single by Freddie Freeman for a four-run lead.

Bumgarner allowed four runs on four hits in 2.2 innings, walking two and striking out two. He threw 67 pitches without even reaching the fourth inning, but he did throw 45 strikes. Even so, his command was off considerably, missing down the middle more than once. I have a feeling this is why his line drive rate is at 30%.

Tommy Hanson has pitched three scoreless innings, allowing one single with no walks and two strikeouts. While his slider hasn't been great, his curve has picked him up a lot so far. The fastball is looking pretty good, as well.

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Braves Vs. Giants: Atlanta Faces Struggling Madison Bumgarner In Series Opener

The Braves and Giants open their three-game series with a 10:15 start on Friday. The game is found on SportSouth.

Braves Lineup:
1. Martin Prado, LF
2. Jason Heyward, RF
3. Chipper Jones, 3B
4. Brian McCann, C
5. Dan Uggla, 2B
6. Freddie Freeman, 1B
7. Alex Gonzalez, SS
8. Nate McLouth, CF
9. Tommy Hanson, SP

Giants Lineup:
1. Aaron Rowand, CF
2. Freddy Sanchez, 2B
3. Aubrey Huff, 1B
4. Buster Posey, C
5. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
6. Pat Burrell, LF
7. Cody Ross, RF
8. Miguel Tejada, SS
9. Madison Bumgarner, SP

Tommy Hanson (21 IP, 3.86 ERA, 3.92 FIP, 3.85 xFIP, 3 BB/9, 7.29 K/9, 47.5 GB%, 6.5 SwStr%)
(56.5 FB%, 21.4 SL%, 17.4 CB%, 4.6 CH%; 41.9 Swing%, 83.3 Contact%)
vs.
Madison Bumgarner (14.2 IP, 7.36 ERA, 5.47 FIP, 4.89 xFIP, 4.91 BB/9, 4.3 K/9, 41.5 GB%, 6.5 SwStr%)
(60.2 FB%, 26.8 SL%, 7.9 CB%, 5.1 CH%; 47 Swing%, 84.9 Contact%)

After a dominating performance against the Marlins, Hanson responded with another good outing against the Mets, allowing three runs in five innings and striking out nine. He had the lowest ground ball total of his season so far, but he also easily surpassed his previous strikeout high of five. Hanson's stuff plays more as a strikeout pitcher, but that hasn't really been the case so far as a major leaguer, though he has shown glimpses like the Mets start.

Bumgarner's first three starts this season have been less than stellar, allowing three runs, four runs and five runs over 14.2 innings. He has struggled with control, walking four and three in two of the starts. His most recent outing was his best so far, going 6.2 innings while allowing four runs on eight hits and just one walk. However, the strikeouts aren't there, and Bumgarner is allowing a ton of fly balls. Bumgarner has become more of a fastball/slider pitcher so far, throwing fewer curves and changeups to this point, despite those two pitches being very effective for him last year. He's getting fewer swings out of the zone, and his pitches in the zone are getting hit much harder, evident by a 30% line drive rate, which is off the charts.

Opposing Numbers:
Not much experience against Bumgarner can be found from the Braves. Jason Heyward is 2-3 and Alex Gonzalez is 1-3. Brian McCann is 1-2 with a homer.

Cody Ross is 1-9 with a double against Hanson. Pablo Sandoval is 0-9. Aubrey Huff is 1-6 with two RBI and two walks. Pat Burrell is 3-4 with a double, homer and three RBI. Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez each have one hit.

What to Look For:
With two tough pitchers in the next two games, the Braves need to jump ahead early with a good offensive showing against a struggling Bumgarner.

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Giants fans check out McCovey Chronicles.

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Braves Vs. Giants: Atlanta Travels To San Francisco For Three Against The World Champs

The road trip only gets tougher for the Braves. Following a series loss in which they lost three of four to the Dodgers, Atlanta remains in California to play the defending champion Giants for three games.

The Giants are 10-8, sitting in second place behind the Rockies, who are three games ahead. The Giants have played steady ball so far, not going on tears or skids, but just sitting tight. They haven't lost a series since the opening one to the Dodgers. Perhaps their best effort came in their most recent series when they won two of three over the Rockies.

Friday, April 22 - 10:15 (SportSouth)
Tommy Hanson (21 IP, 3.86 ERA, 3.92 FIP, 3.85 xFIP, 3 BB/9, 7.29 K/9, 47.5 GB%, 6.5 SwStr%)
(56.5 FB%, 21.4 SL%, 17.4 CB%, 4.6 CH%; 41.9 Swing%, 83.3 Contact%)
vs.
Madison Bumgarner (14.2 IP, 7.36 ERA, 5.47 FIP, 4.89 xFIP, 4.91 BB/9, 4.3 K/9, 41.5 GB%, 6.5 SwStr%)
(60.2 FB%, 26.8 SL%, 7.9 CB%, 5.1 CH%; 47 Swing%, 84.9 Contact%)

After a dominating performance against the Marlins, Hanson responded with another good outing against the Mets, allowing three runs in five innings and striking out nine. He had the lowest ground ball total of his season so far, but he also easily surpassed his previous strikeout high of five. Hanson's stuff plays more as a strikeout pitcher, but that hasn't really been the case so far as a major leaguer, though he has shown glimpses like the Mets start.

Bumgarner's first three starts this season have been less than stellar, allowing three runs, four runs and five runs over 14.2 innings. He has struggled with control, walking four and three in two of the starts. His most recent outing was his best so far, going 6.2 innings while allowing four runs on eight hits and just one walk. However, the strikeouts aren't there, and Bumgarner is allowing a ton of fly balls. Bumgarner has become more of a fastball/slider pitcher so far, throwing fewer curves and changeups to this point, despite those two pitches being very effective for him last year. He's getting fewer swings out of the zone, and his pitches in the zone are getting hit much harder, evident by a 30% line drive rate, which is off the charts.

Saturday, April 23 - 4:10 (FOX)
Tim Hudson (26.2 IP, 4.05 ERA, 3.20 FIP, 3.76 xFIP, 1.69 BB/9, 4.39 K/9, 64 GB%, 6.4 SwStr%)
(60.2 FB%, 17.2 SL%, 11.3 SF%, 4.8 CT%, 4 CH%, 2.5 CB%; 49 Swing%, 86.9 Contact%)
vs.
Tim Lincecum (27 IP, 1.67 ERA, 2.12 FIP, 2.25 xFIP, 2.33 BB/9, 10.67 K/9, 64.1 GB%, 11.2 SwStr%)
(54.5 FB%, 27.1 CH%, 12.1 SL%, 6.2 CB%; 43.2 Swing%, 72.7 Contact%)

Hudson turned in another tough-luck outing against the Dodgers last time out, allowing four runs in six innings. He induced 17 ground balls to to just four fly balls and one line drive. Hudson is turning in another solid ground ball rate so far, sitting in fourth in the National League in GB%. As long as the grounders keep coming, he will be fine.

The other Timmy has a ground ball rate exactly one-tenth of a point better. Lincecum has dominated through four starts, allowing just one run in each of three starts and three runs in the other. His K/BB of 4.57 is his career best so far due to 32 strikeouts in 27 innings. His most recent outing was 7.2 innings of one-run ball on three hits, walking three and striking out 10 while inducing 12 ground balls against the Rockies. His fastball velocity is almost back to 93 MPH while his slider is much sharper and harder. In fact, he's throwing all of his pitches harder. He has laid off some on the curveball while relying more on the changeup and slider.

Sunday, April 24 - 4:05 (Fox Sports South)
Brandon Beachy (23.1 IP, 3.86 ERA, 3.91 FIP, 3.59 xFIP, 3.47 BB/9, 9.26 K/9, 34.4 GB%, 10.4 SwStr%)
(65.7 FB%, 15.7 SL%, 9.5 CB%, 9.2 CH%; 45.6 Swing%, 76.1 Contact%)
vs.
Jonathan Sanchez (23 IP, 3.13 ERA, 2.58 FIP, 3.33 xFIP, 4.3 BB/9, 10.96 K/9, 38.3 GB%, 13.1 SwStr%)
(60.9 FB%, 19.9 CH%, 19.2 SL%; 45.1 Swing%, 70.5 Contact%)

Beachy had a much better outing last time out, pitching six shutout innings on two hits against the Dodgers, walking two and striking out seven. It was a return to the Beachy we know, which is great command and high strikeout totals. Once his walk rate begins to fall, he will become much more consistent, and judging by his minor league numbers, it will happen.

Sanchez has been solid through four starts, allowing no more than four runs or three earned runs in any start. His 28 strikeouts in 23 innings is the best rate of his career to this point, and while walks have always been the main issue with Sanchez, they have remained somewhat in check so far. Sanchez allowed three runs on just two hits in 6.1 innings against the Rockies last time out, walking four and striking out four.

The Giants bullpen is sporting the best FIP in baseball at 2.60. Brian Wilson has struggled since his return from the disabled list, allowing five runs in 5.2 innings, yet he has five saves. Sergio Romo has pitched 6.2 scoreless innings, while Javier Lopez has allowed one run in six innings. Ramon Ramirez has been a steady workhorse, allowing two runs in 10.2 innings, and Jeremy Affeldt has given up two runs in 7.1 innings. Guillermo Mota has the most innings in the pen with 13, allowing five runs.

Projected Giants Lineup:
1. Aaron Rowand, CF
2. Freddy Sanchez, 2B
3. Aubrey Huff, 1B
4. Buster Posey, C
5. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
6. Pat Burrell, LF
7. Cody Ross, RF
8. Miguel Tejada, SS

Sandoval appears back to his old self this year, which is crucial to the Giants' success offensively. With the loss of Andres Torres, the Giants have turned to Rowand in the leadoff spot, which is a definite downgrade, yet Rowand has a .839 OPS. Brandon Belt struggled to a .192 average, so he was sent down and Huff has taken over first base again. The Giants just got Ross back on Wednesday from the disabled list and is set to give them another strong bat in the outfield to replace Huff.

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Giants fans check out McCovey Chronicles.

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