July 8, 2012 at 10:03 am by David Lee under Atlanta Braves
Game 3 vs. Phillies
Braves lineup: Michael Bourn (CF), Martin Prado (LF), Jason Heyward (RF), Brian McCann (C), Freddie Freeman (1B), Dan Uggla (2B), Andrelton Simmons (SS), Juan Francisco (3B), Jair Jurrjens (P).
Phillies lineup: Jimmy Rollins (S, SS), Juan Pierre (L, LF), Chase Utley (L, 2B), Ryan Howard (L, 1B), Carlos Ruiz (R, C), Hunter Pence (R, RF), Jason Pridie (L, CF), Mike Fontenot (L, 3B), Vance Worley (R, P).
Update (12:30p): Shane Victorino has been scratched from the lineup today, with no word on why. I haven’t seen a new lineup, so I assume Pridie just replaces Victorino in the seventh spot. I’ll update if it’s different.
The Braves won again, taking their second straight from the Phillies 6-3 on Saturday behind a strong outing from Tommy Hanson and big nights at the plate for Brian McCann and Martin Prado.
The Braves will go for the sweep today as Vance Worley faces Jair Jurrjens. Worley is pitching well in his first full season in the Phillies rotation, recording a 3.46 ERA and 3.42 xFIP in 78 innings, including a 21% strikeout rate and 7.9% walk rate. He is getting ground balls at a rate of 50% and keeping the ball in the park at a good rate despite a 14.3% HR/FB.
Worley throws different variations of his fastball. (Don’t bother looking it up on Pitch f/x sites; they’re all labeled differently.) No matter the variation, expect to see velocity around 88-90, with a slider that he throws more than 20% of the time as his out pitch, recording a whiff rate around 10% and runs up to 12-15% on two-strike counts. Worley will also mix in a curve and change occasionally so the batter will see something different.
Jurrjens had a Jurrjens outing last time out, giving up nine hits but only three unearned runs over five innings. His control was on, not walking a batter, but his command was off from his first start back in Boston, and it’s something he will need to correct before the hits turn into more runs.
Post-Break Rotation Set
Fredi Gonzalez announced his rotation following the All-Star break this week. Tim Hudson will start the first game back on Friday against the Mets in Atlanta, and Tommy Hanson will follow on Saturday. We could see Ben Sheets make his Atlanta debut on Sunday if he gets through his next start at Double-A Mississippi on Monday feeling fine and ready.
If Sheets is ready for Sunday, one of either Mike Minor or Randall Delgado would be dropped from the rotation. My feeling is Delgado would be the odd man out, as Minor remains the pitcher with more upside and deeper innings lately. If Sheets isn’t ready for Sunday, the Braves will start either of the two that day. Jair Jurrjens is expected to start the series opener against the Giants on Tuesday.
Franklin and Kevin recorded a new podcast and posted it Saturday. Go give it a listen if you haven’t already.
MLB.com game recap for Saturday’s win.
AJC quotes following Saturday’s win. Tommy Hanson: “I feel really good especially with my two-seamer. I’m getting a lot of groundballs when I need them and I feel like my command is where I need to be.”
Michael Bourn is going to the All-Star Game after all, replacing Ian Desmond, who is battling a strained left oblique muscle.
Brian McCann says he’s in a spot right now where he hasn’t been in a couple years as far as comfort. It’s evident, as McCann is 8-14 with three home runs and nine RBIs in his last four games.
Carroll Rogers added that McCann visited his brother and father to break down his mechanics in the cages. He came away feeling more comfortable as a result.
Cody Ross told Ken Rosenthal that he turned down a multi-year offer from the Braves this past offseason to sign a one-year deal with the Red Sox. Ross said he “liked the opportunity in Boston.” Maybe that explains the incredibly annoying bat flip after the home run in Boston. Oh wait, that’s just Ross.
Zack Greinke was ejected in the first inning of his start Saturday, making it a wasted trip for scouts, including one from the Braves.
Update (12:20p): Greinke will start today, so it won’t be a wasted trip for scouts after all.
Bullpen Banter previews the Futures Game, which begins at 5 p.m. today on ESPN2. Included is a link to a BB article on Christian Bethancourt.
For all those interested, and I’m not sure why you wouldn’t be, Dan Brooks and Harry Pavlidis introduced hitter profiles for Baseball Prospectus. Go take a look and tinker with the toy.
Around the NL East
Giancarlo Stanton will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his ailing right knee to remove a loose body and is expected to miss a month. This will certainly put a damper on the hopes of a Marlins comeback after the break.
Bryce Harper will take Stanton’s spot on the All-Star team.
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