The Atlanta Braves have been a pretty inconsistent bunch at the plate thus far in 2012. They started their season poorly on the road, losing four straight games while scoring a total of 11 runs against some pretty mediocre competition. Atlanta then had a streak of scoring 9+ runs in four straight games about a week later, predictably winning all four of those contests.
Since this brief hot streak, the Braves have struggled to score runs consistently. The club scored 15 runs on Wednesday night. Excluding this game, Atlanta has scored a total of 11 runs in the past six games.
Fortunately for the Braves, they head west this weekend to take on the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field, which always seems to be the cure for slumping bats.
The Rockies will enter the series with a record of 12-12. Like Atlanta, they're 5-5 in their last 10 games. Colorado comes in fresh off of winning a home series against the Dodgers. The club is ranked 5th in all of baseball with 127 runs scored, although a lot of that is aided by playing in their hitter-friendly ballpark. They are also ranked 5th worst in runs allowed, giving up 124 thus far. Again, that number is boosted by Coors Field, but this is clearly a team that relies on their lineup to win games.
Todd Helton -- essentially the Chipper Jones of Colorado these days -- is still hitting the ball hard. His slash line of .236/.325/.514 is impressive, and that's with an unlucky BABIP (read more here!) of .217. Carlos Gonzalez got off to a bit of a slow start but has really turned it on the past week, belting five homers and posting an OPS of 1.701. He's pretty good, especially at home.
Fun fact: Ramon Hernandez, the Colorado catcher, has gone to the plate 63 times this season. He was not walked once. Even Jeff Francoeur thinks this is bad.
Troy Tulowitzki continues to be the best shortstop in the game, although his slash line of .280/.333/.462 is a bit down for his lofty standards. Michael Cuddyer, the Rockies' big free agent signing last winter, is off to a very solid start with a wOBA (read more here!) of .364. Atlanta native Dexter Fowler has not done too much to this point in the year other than hit four homers, posting an OPS of .766.
Basically, this will be a tough lineup for the Braves' pitchers to get through. Fortunately for Atlanta, they'll arguably have their three best going this weekend.
Pitching Matchups & Start Times:
8:40 p.m. ET - Tim Hudson vs. Guillermo Moscoso
8:10 p.m. ET - Mike Minor vs. Jamie Moyer (Yes, that Jamie Moyer. He is still alive. And pitching, too!)
3:10 p.m. ET - Brandon Beachy vs. Juan Nicasio
The Braves have the pitching advantage in all three games, but this team really needs to get their bats going to help support their guys on the mound. I see Atlanta winning two out of three games this weekend.