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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%)
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.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.