The Atlanta Braves and the San Francisco Giants could end up meeting in the NL playoffs at some point on the road to the World Series. They’ll collide in an important battle on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball to wrap up this weekend’s action on the diamond.
This is a good news/bad news situation for Atlanta. The Braves are at least within some sort of striking distance of the Washington Nationals in the NL East, sitting just 5.5 games back. However, they are also only 3.5 games clear of safety for the two Wild Card slots in the league as well. Tim Hudson is going to put his 12-4 record on the line on Sunday night, as he looks to get back to his winning ways. The righty had led Atlanta to victories in eight starts in a row before a 5-4 loss to the Nats six days ago. Hudson allowed four runs in six innings that day, but for the most part, he has been tremendously consistent. He isn’t getting the strikeouts that he once did, as he only has 82 Ks in 134 innings of work this year, but batters are still baffled by his very crafty arm. Hudson is allowing batters to hit just .244 this year, and he only has nine home runs allowed for the campaign.
The Giants had a terrible day on Saturday. Not only did they end up losing to the Braves, but they had no choice but to sit and watch as the team chasing them in the NL West, the Los Angeles Dodgers pull off the blockbuster of the trading season by picking up Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett for essentially nothing at the major league level. There is a serious threat right now for the G-Men to not make the playoffs, and if that is going to change, it is going to take a great effort from pitchers like Tim Lincecum down the stretch. The former Cy Young Award winner just hasn’t had it this year. He has just a 7-13 record, and his ERA is still sailing at 5.30. He hasn’t had a start of more than seven innings since July 14th (and that came against the lowly Houston Astros), and he hasn’t had a complete game all season long. Batters are hitting .265 off of Lincecum, and it has to be concerning that his walks are up (66 in 146 innings) and his strikeouts are down (151, just over one per inning). Lincecum is 6-4 lifetime against the Braves with a 3.12 ERA, but this is the first time this year that he is facing them.
This feels like a game which is going to feature at least some runs. Both teams should get to three, and if that turns out to be the case, there is no way that we are going to end up losing. Go with the ‘over’ on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. San Francisco 5 – Atlanta 4