Atlanta Braves Series Preview: @ Detroit Tigers


Before I get into the preview, I should probably introduce myself. My name is Carlos Collazo and I am currently wrapping up my first year of college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I am going to be a Co-Editor of the site along with Brad, and I’m looking forward to writing about everything Atlanta. I was previously a staff writer and editor for Fansided’s Tomahawk Take, and I am also a sports writer for the college newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel.

If you have any questions for me you can contact me through twitter (@CarlosCollazo__), by commenting here on the site, or by my email—which I am going to be putting up on my author page at some point. Now, without further adieu, let’s get into this preview:

The Braves are rolling along with the best record in baseball (15-6) but are in the midst of one of their tougher portions of schedule. This weekend will see the Braves take on a tough—albeit struggling—Detroit Tigers (10-10) team. After that the Braves will play the Nationals, Mets, Reds, Giants, Diamondbacks, and Dodgers. The majority of these games will be player on the roadl. The key during this stretch will be for someone not named Justin Upton to get hot at the plate. He can’t do this the entire season. Fortunately, Freddie Freeman should be in the lineup every day for a while.

Let’s look at the pitching matchups this weekend:

Apr 14, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Paul Maholm (28) throws during the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Friday, 7:08: Paul Maholm vs. Anibal Sanchez

Maholm is 3-1 with a 1.03 ERA, .163 AVG, and .87 WHIP. He has easily been the Braves best pitcher this season, and is currently at a career high in strikeouts per nine innings. Right now he is sitting at 8.54—with his previous season high being 6.67, last year. We shouldn’t expect this kind of success to hold up for the duration of the season because of his LOB% (93.5) and his BABIP (.212), but it wouldn’t be too surprising if the strikeouts remained higher than we have seen by him, thanks to the new curveball he has added to his arsenal.

Sanchez is 2-1 with a 1.75 ERA, .216 AVG, and 1.13 WHIP. He is having a great season as well and actually has yet to let up a homerun. I doubt that continues against the Braves but you never know what could happen. Sanchez also hasn’t given up more than two runs in any of his starts this season. With Verlander’s velocity drop worrying everyone, Sanchez is off to one of the best starts of his career.

This match up should be a good one, and the closest thing to a pitcher’s duel we are likely to see out of these two teams.

Saturday, 1:05: Kris Medlen vs. Rick Porcello

Medlen is 1-2 with a 2.16 ERA, .222 AVG, and 1.16 WHIP. He got off to a rough start of the season, and didn’t seem to have the command he usually posses. Of late, that has changed and he seems to be getting back into a 2012 look again.

Porcello has been terrible so far with an 0-2 record, 11.08 ERA, .383 AVG, and 2.00 WHIP. He has atrocious numbers across the board and to top it all off he has just three strikeouts to three walks on the season. He has started three games and has compiled just 13 innings.

If there is a good matchup for the Braves this series it is this one.

Sunday, 8:08: Mike Minor vs. Doug Fister

Minor has been plugging along like we all hoped he would so far this season. He has a 3-1 record, 1.80 ERA, 2.17 AVG, and .92 WHIP. He is averaging just over 6 innings per outing which is good to see and his strikeout to walk ratio is sitting at 21:3. That’s pretty impressive stuff. Minor is looking to have his best season so far this year per the wise Ben Duronio of Capital Avenue Club.

Fister is 3-0 with a 2.00 ERA, .228 AVG, and 1.07 WHIP. He has quality starts in every single one of his appearances so far this season. Fister isn’t striking out too many guys but he doesn’t walk that many either.

This should be another good match up.

This series is going to be a fun one to watch simply because of all the good pitching we are going to see (with the exception of Porcello of course). The other five pitchers have all put up stellar numbers so far and it will be interesting to see which offense can overcome them. Both are certainly capable of putting up big numbers.

I have the Braves taking two out of three.