After taking two of three from the New York Mets, Atlanta heads out west to take the Arizona Diamondbacks in a four-game series. The Diamondbacks are coming off a series against the Pirates that saw them lose two of three at home. For the year, Arizona is 7-5, two games back of the N.L. West leading Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Braves catch a break going up against the Diamondbacks offense as the hot hitting Chris Young (.410/.500/.810 with five home runs) is on the disabled list with a bruised right shoulder.
While not on the DL, outfielder Justin Upton is day-to-day with an injured thumb. Hitting .212/.350/.273 so far, Upton was used as a pinch runner on Wednesday, but still struggles to swing a bat.
Among healthy players, Miguel Montero is hitting .282/.404/.436 with two home runs in 47 plate appearances, while Aaron Hill is hitting at a .220/.333/.512 clip with three home runs so far in 2012. Lyle Overbay is hitting .222/.300/.500 on the year.
Ryan Roberts is hitting only .205/.286/.318 on the year, and Willie Bloomquist is at .256/.275/.410.
Some other struggling Diamondbacks include Paul Goldschmidt, Gerardo Parra, and Jason Kubel. Keeping them that way will be a key for the Braves.
Pitching match-ups and a look at the Diamondbacks bullpen after the jump.
Thursday April 19th, 9:40 PM ET
#36 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Dec 26, 1987
#55 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks
Feb 07, 1986
Josh Collmenter, a revelation is 2011, has gotten off to a rough start so far in 2012. The righthander hasn't made it past the fourth inning in either of his starts this season, and could be in danger of losing his rotation spot if his struggles continue. Collmenter is primarily a fastball (it's a cutter)-changeup pitcher, but he'll mix in a curveball every now and then. So far in 2012, he's thrown his fastball 71% of the time and his change 23% percent of the time. Velocity wise, he isn't a hard thrower, reaching just above 87 miles per hour with his fastball. In 13 innings pitched against Atlanta, Collmenter is 1-1 with a 0.69 ERA and five strikeouts.
Friday April 20th, 9:40 PM ET
#37 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Sep 03, 1986
#35 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks
Mar 01, 1988
In game two, Brandon Beachy faces off against Trevor Cahill. Acquired in the offseason from Oakland, the right-hander has pitched well so far in 2012. In terms of stuff, Cahill throws five pitches, a fastball, sinker, slider, curveball, and changeup. Primarily, he uses his sinker, with his change being the primary off-speed pitch. His fastball and sinker both have averaged just over 88 miles per hour this season. Never a big strikeout pitcher, Cahill has gotten a little lucky so far in 2012, sporting a strand rate of over 85%, which is bound to come down soon. He has never faced Atlanta.
Saturday April 21st, 8:10 PM ET
#48 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Aug 28, 1986
#34 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks
Jun 16, 1981
In game three, Joe Saunders takes the mound for Arizona against Tommy Hanson. He throws four pitches, including a fastball, sinker, curveball, and a changeup. Working mainly fastball-sinker, his changeup is his main off-speed weapon. Reaching just over 90 miles per hour with his fastball in 2012, Saunders has pitched very well so far this year. In 13.1 career innings against Atlanta, Saunders is 1-0, with an 0.68 ERA and four strikeouts.
Sunday April 22nd, 4:10 PM ET
#40 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Feb 09, 1990
#31 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks
Dec 19, 1984
In the series finale, Randall Delgado takes on Ian Kennedy. In 2012, Kennedy has been throwing five pitches: a fastball, sinker, cutter, curveball, and changeup. Velocity wise, his fastball has averaged just over 90 miles per hour in 2012, while his sinker has been just below that at just over 89 miles per hour. Sporting a 5.67 K/BB ratio and a K/9 of over eight, Kennedy has been pretty successful so far in the young season. He's 0-0 with a 2.03 ERA and 11 strikeouts against Atlanta.
All pitch information from brooksbaseball.net.
J.J. Putz -RH (CL)
David Hernandez -RH
Brad Zeigler -RH
Craig Breslow -LH
Bryan Shaw -RH
Joe Paterson -LH
Wade Miley -LH
In just over 36 innings total, the Diamondbacks pen has an ERA of 2.21, a FIP of 3.19, and a xFIP of 3.59.