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Astros Vs. Braves: Atlanta Looks To Take Advantage Of Matchup In Series Opener

Following a series win over the Phillies, the Braves wrap up the homestand with two games against the Astros. First pitch is 7:10 on Peachtree TV and Fox Sports South.

Astros Lineup:
1. Michael Bourn, CF
2. Clint Barmes, SS
3. Hunter Pence, RF
4. Carlos Lee, LF
5. Brett Wallace, 1B
6. Bill Hall, 2B
7. Matt Downs, 3B
8. Humberto Quintero, C
9. Brett Myers, SP

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

Brett Myers (50.1 IP, 5.01 ERA, 5.20 FIP, 4.27 xFIP, 3.4 BB/9, 6.79 K/9, 42 GB%, 7.4 SwStr%)
(47.2 FB%, 22.4 SL%, 21 CB%, 9.4 CH%; 44.8 Swing%, 82.8 Contact%)
Tommy Hanson (46.2 IP, 2.51 ERA, 2.85 FIP, 3.12 xFIP, 2.51 BB/9, 8.49 K/9, 46 GB%, 8.6 SwStr%)
(56.7 FB%, 21.4 SL%, 14.9 CB%, 6.9 CH%; 43 Swing%, 79.4 Contact%)

The former Phillies pitcher is suffering from four terrible outings in his last four starts. Otherwise, he has a pretty solid ERA. Myers has allowed six runs, six runs, five runs and four runs in his last four outings, including three straight losses by scores that were not close. Myers has seen a significant rise in walks and home runs while having a decrease in ground balls. He's throwing the same pitches in the same spots, but he's giving up slightly more contact and receiving far fewer swinging strikes. Myers is hittable right now and the Braves need to take advantage.

Hanson hasn't allowed more than two runs in a start since April 17, spanning four starts. His most recent was one run in 5.2 innings against the Nationals, and while he threw a ton of pitches without his best command, he still held them to just five hits. Hanson's zone contact rate is down 4%, which has been a big reason for the increase in strikeouts.

Opposing Numbers:
The Braves have destroyed Myers in the past. Dan Uggla is 14-40 with five home runs. Brian McCann is 12-36 with two home runs. Alex Gonzalez is 7-23. Nate McLouth is 5-11 with three home runs. Martin Prado is 4-7.

The Astros have had little success against Hanson. Michael Bourn is 1-10. Carlos Lee is 2-8 and Hunter Pence is 2-9. Clint Barmes is 1-3 and Brett Wallace is 0-3.

What to Look For:
The Braves should be able to handle Myers. He's pitching poorly right now and Atlanta's offense has touched him up in the past.

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Astros fans check out Crawfish Boxes.

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