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Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves Series Preview

Chipper and the Braves welcome the Dodgers to Atlanta for a three-game set.
Chipper and the Braves welcome the Dodgers to Atlanta for a three-game set.

Atlanta continued its winning ways by taking three of four from the San Diego Padres this week at the Ted. Now, the Braves welcome the Los Angeles Dodgers to the friendly confines for a three-game set between two of the better teams in the league.

The Dodgers enter at 65-54, .5 a game up in the National League West. LA is 6-4 in it's last ten games, and sports a run differential of +32.


As a team, the Dodgers rank tied for tenth in batting average in the National League (.252), tenth in on-base average (.318), last in slugging percentage (.365), next to last in wOBA (.299), and 13th in wRC+ at 87.

Of course, things start with Matt Kemp offensively. On the year, he sits at .356/.422/.636 with a .440 wOBA and 183 wRC+. Kemp also sports a .280 ISO and 17 home runs on the season.

AJ Ellis has had a solid season as well, hitting .276/.386/.425 with a .352 wOBA and 123 wRC+. Andre Ethier is the right there with him, hitting .288/.356/.452 with a .347 wOBA and 120 wRC+.

Hanley Ramirez has found some success since being traded away by the Miami Marlins. In 20 games and 89 plate apperances as a Dodger, he's hit .308/.382/.436 with a .353 wOBA and a 124 wRC+

Another recent acquisition, Shane Victorino, has found early success as well in a Dodger uniform. He's put up a .298/.344/.439 line in 62 plate appearances so far for LA.

Mark Ellis is getting on base, but isn't providing any power as evidenced by his .262/.361/.349 line with a .326 wOBA and 106 wRC+. Luis Cruz has been playing all over the infield, and has been just about average with the bat, hitting .267/.305/.417 with a .312 wOBA and 96 wRC+.

They're platooning Juan Rivera and James Loney at first base, and getting pretty mediocre results. Rivera is hitting .252/.300/.405 against lefties, while Loney is hitting .260/.312/.354 against right-handers.

Pitching match-ups after the jump.

Friday August 17, 7:35 PM ET

Chris Capuano vs Tommy Hanson:

The widgets aren't working for some reason, so no pictures today. On the year, Capuano is 11-8 with a 3.11 ERA, 3.54 FIP, and 3.87 xFIP. He currently has the highest strikeout percentage of his career, at 21.9%, while sporting a walk percentage of 7.3%. Per nine innings, he's striking out over eight batters and walking under three.

He throws a two-seam fastball, cutter, slider, and a changeup. Velocity wise, he averages just about 88 miles per hour with his sinking fastball, so doesn't blow the ball past anyone. Instead, he generates weak contact and uses his offspeed pitches to miss a good bit of bats. His best off-speed pitch is the change, which he throws 30% of time against right-handers while only seven percent against lefties. The pitch overall has an almost 24% whiff rate and a 37.38% whiff/swing rate.

He'll mix in an average slider every now and then, throwing it about 8% of time overall.

Saturday August 18, 7:10 PM ET

Aaron Harang vs Ben Sheets

An extreme fly-ball pitcher, Harang enters with a 8-7 record and a 3.76 ERA, 4.15 FIP, and 4.72 xFIP. His ground ball rate so far for 2012 is 39.8%, which is slightly above his career average. Harang has a strikeout rate of 17.4%, and a walk rate of 10.4%. His swinging strike rate of 7.7% is the lowest of his career, however.

In terms of stuff, he throws a four-seam, two-seam, slider, curve, and change. Velocity wise, the four-seamer averages 90 miles per hour. His slider has the best whiff rate of just over 14%. It also has the best whiff/swing rate of over 27%.

Against right-handers, he basically sticks to the fastball/slider combo.

Sunday August 19, 1:35 PM ET

Chad Billingsley vs Mike Minor

Billingsley throws a four-seam, two-seam, cutter, curve, and slider. Velocity wise, he sits around 93 miles per hour with the fastball, while the two-seam is more in the 90 mile per hour range.

He doesn't throw the slider much, but misses a ton of bats with a 20% whiff rate and a 42% whiff/swing rate. His curveball is also a good swing and miss pitch, with a 14% whiff rate and 34% whiff/swing rate.

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