The Braves welcome in the first place Diamondbacks this weekend in a crucial series with playoff implications. Which team has the edge and what should we expect?
The Diamondbacks are having a magical season in 2011. A team that probably had goals of breaking .500 and building for the future currently sits in first place out in the weak NL West. Arizona is making their way south after battling with the Phillies for three games earlier this week, a series they won just one game in. Let's take a closer look at Kirk Gibson's 69-55 club:
And the NL MVP goes to...
|2011 - Justin Upton||123||473||80||142||34||5||25||75||44||98||18||7||.300||.372||.552|
Justin Upton may not win the MVP award for the National League for a lack of exposure or east coast bias, but he deserves it. The right fielder always had the potential and talent to become one of the best players in baseball and he has put it all together in 2011. Upton, who leads the NL in WAR at 6.3, has been the DBacks best player and carries the team for games at a time. He struggled in Philadelphia going 1-for-12, but don't let that mini-slump fool you; this is one of the best players in baseball and he can impact a game with just one swing of the bat.
He may be small, but don't let him fool you...
|2011 - Ryan Roberts||111||371||71||96||20||1||16||50||52||73||14||7||.259||.351||.447|
Most fans may not know of Ryan Roberts, but imagine a slightly less talented Dustin Pedroia. Oh, and then add tattoos all over his body. That's pretty much what Roberts is. Upton has been excellent this season, but Arizona would be nowhere without the feisty little Roberts at the top of their lineup. A guy who swings for the fences each at-bat, the third baseman has experienced a breakout season and has been a key ingredient to the Diamondbacks' success.
Friday - Derek Lowe vs. Daniel Hudson - 7:35 EDT, PeachTree TV, Fox Sports South
|2011 - Derek Lowe||7-11||26||26||0||0||0||0||145.1||163||81||79||9||53||101||4.89||1.49|
|2011 - Daniel Hudson||12-8||25||25||2||0||0||0||165.1||173||80||69||9||36||125||3.76||1.26|
Saturday - Brandon Beachy vs. Josh Collmenter - 7:10 EDT, PeachTree TV, Fox Sports South, MLB Network
|2011 - Brandon Beachy||5-2||18||18||0||0||0||0||102.1||90||42||39||14||31||113||3.43||1.18|
|2011 - Josh Collmenter||7-7||24||17||0||0||0||0||111.2||97||46||43||10||21||77||3.47||1.06|
Sunday - Tim Hudson vs. Wade Miley - 1:35 EDT, Fox Sports South
|2011 - Tim Hudson||12-7||25||25||1||1||0||0||163.2||137||66||57||12||39||115||3.13||1.08|
Wade Miley is a rookie left-handed starting pitcher making his Major League debut. Prepare to be shutdown.
This is a big series for the Braves, and probably an even bigger one for the Diamondbacks. They sit 2.5 up on the Giants in the west and just lost their first road series since early-July. Arizona has a big advantage in the pitching matchup on Friday, as does Atlanta on Sunday. Whichever team wins Saturday will likely take the series.