After a fairly disastrous week, the Braves just can't seem to catch a break. After a series against the Orioles that saw the Braves lose two of three games, and saw Brandon Beachy hit the disabled list with elbow soreness, the Braves head to New York to take on the same team that swept them a week ago. The Bronx Bombers are the hottest team in baseball right now, winners of nine straight and twelve of their last thirteen. During their nine game streak, the Yankees have averaged over 5 runs per game, and are outscoring their opponents 46 to 19.
The Braves - arguably the streakiest team in baseball this year - come in to the series as losers of six of their past seven games (after winning six in a row, of course). During the Braves 1-6 slide, they have been outscored 33 to 14. For those of you who don't want to do the math (And who could blame you? It's ugly) that's an average of two runs a game over their last seven. In fact, the Braves haven't mustered a run in their last twenty innings of play.
The Yankees lineup is one of the deepest and most dangerous in the league, and during their 9 game tear, it has been the three men up the middle driving it. Derek Jeter has collected 12 hits and 1 walk out of the leadoff spot over the last 9 games and has scored 9 runs. Keeping the Yankee shortstop off base will be key for the Braves in this series, primarily because you want the guy behind him to be hitting with the bases empty. Curtis Granderson has been on an absolute tear during the Yanks' streak, with 11 hits, including 2 doubles and 4 homers. He's also been an on-base machine, taking 7 walks as well. Finally, Jeter's double play parter, Robinson Cano, is one to watch out for as well. Cano has 12 hits, including 1 double and 3 homers in his last 9, with 7 walks as well. Of course, any hitter in the Yankees' lineup is capable of taking the ball out at any given time, but Jeter, Cano, and Granderson are three of the hottest right now.
Pitching matchups after the jump.
Monday, June 18, 7:00 P.M. EST
#36 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Dec 26, 1987
#52 / Pitcher / New York Yankees
Jul 21, 1980
Tuesday, June 19, 7:05 P.M. EST
(Let's all take a moment to pause and laugh at poor Hiroki's headshot)
#15 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Jul 14, 1975
#18 / Pitcher / New York Yankees
Feb 10, 1975
Wednesday, June 20, 1:05 P.M. EST
#48 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Aug 28, 1986
#65 / Pitcher / New York Yankees
Jun 24, 1986
Lineup Notes: Freddie Freeman received two cortisone shots in his knuckle on Saturday. There's no break or fracture, Freeman just has to get to the point where he can grip a bat without bad pain. According to Dave O'Brien, Freeman is targeting a return for Tuesday.
Since the Braves will play with a DH in this series, we'll probably see more of Matt Diaz and Eric Hinske.