May 11, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Aaron Harang (34) pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the second inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Braves at St. Louis Cardinals: Braves looking to bounce back in game two

After the St. Louis Cardinals beat up on Ervin Santana last night, the Atlanta Braves are looking to even up the series and keep the possibility of a series win alive today.

The Braves have been struggling for some time now, as David O’Brien noted in his game story last night:

The loss was the 11th in 16 games for the first-place Braves (22-18). They haven’t had double-digit hits in any of their past 18 games and have batted .214 and totaled 56 runs in their past 22 games. Manager Fredi Gonzalez was asked if he were concerned and if he had any possible solutions.

Until the Braves offense wakes up, it’s on the pitching staff to deliver the wins. Like we do for most previews, let’s take a look at today’s matchup (these are actually correct today, yesterday we botched it for you… apologies for that.):

Shelby MillerSomehow Shelby Miller is 5-2 early this season, so he must be getting a fair amount of run support–his numbers just don’t look that great. He’s striking out just 6.65 batters per nine innings and walking over 5.44 batters per nine. Those are terrible marks… I don’t remember the last time I noticed a pitcher walking that many hitters. His HR/9 ratio is also pretty rough, as he’s giving up 1.61 long balls per nine innings. One of the things that’s been helping him out this season is his extremely high LOB percentage (left on base percentage), which is 91.6 percent–quite a bit above his career average of 82.9 percent.

Hopefully tonight a bit of that luck will start to fade for him. There’s no way it lasts all season, so better sooner than later right?

Aaron HarangAfter looking at Miller’s numbers, Aaron Harang starts to look like some kind of an ace… I exaggerate, but you get the point. Harang’s putting up crazy strikeout numbers (9.68 K/9) and respectable walk marks (3.17 BB/9) while posting a 2.98 ERA, 2.54 FIP and 3,43 xFIP. Arguably the biggest reason for Harang’s early success with Atlanta is the fact that he’s giving up so few long balls. His HR/FB and HR/9 numbers are both well below his career averages at 3.8 percent and .38 respectively.

We should expect those to regress eventually but better later than sooner right?

Here are the particulars for today’s game:

Date: May 17, 2014

Start Time: 2:15 p.m.

TV Channel: SportSouth

Radio: 680 AM/106.7 FM (Local in Atlanta), Full list of Local Affiliates

Live Stream: MLB.tv (Click Here, $)

Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@ATLBeatBlog) for more information (including all of your Atlanta Braves action), and check back after the game for a full recap. Sound off in the comments!

Tags: Atlanta Braves

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