Posted August 23, 2012 on
AP on Fox
Though the Atlanta Braves have enjoyed some recent success in San Francisco, they understand their key four-game series against the surging Giants won't be an easy one.
While the Braves try for a fifth consecutive win at AT&T Park, Barry Zito looks to continue his career success against them and help the NL West-leading Giants to a fourth straight victory overall Thursday night.
Atlanta (71-53) is atop the NL wild-card standings, but needed a 5-1 win Wednesday at East-leading Washington to snap a four-game skid. The victory could provide a huge boost for the Braves, who head to San Francisco, where the Giants return after sweeping Los Angeles to complete a 5-1 trip and take a 2 1/2-game lead in the West.
"I think if we were heading out to the Left Coast having lost five in a row, there's always that little check in your spirit in the back of your mind," third baseman Chipper Jones said. "This win allows us to take a deep breath and hopefully build some momentum going out West.''
Though the Braves were outscored 20-7 while dropping two of three at home to the Giants (69-55) from July 17-19, they swept a three-game set at San Francisco last year after winning Game 2 of the NL division series there in 2010. Right fielder Jason Heyward, 7 for 14 with a homer and three RBIs at Washington, went 7 for 12 with a home run and four RBIs at AT&T Park in 2011.
Heyward, however, is 0 for 6 and Jones is 2 for 12 against Zito (9-8, 4.42 ERA), who is 4-1 with a 2.03 ERA in six starts versus Atlanta. The left-hander allowed three hits in seven innings of a 9-0 win at Turner Field on July 17.
Zito, though, will make his first appearance against the Braves at AT&T Park, where he is 0-3 with a 6.86 ERA in four starts since beating the Dodgers on June 25. His latest outing came at San Diego on Saturday when he gave up four runs in four innings of an 8-7 win.
Manager Bruce Bochy, however, has been happy with Zito, and is confident based on the veteran's track record against the Braves.
"He's tough. I mean mentally tough," Bochy told the Giants' official website after Zito's start at Atlanta last month. "He's done a great job for us."
Joaquin Arias had three hits and five RBIs in San Francisco's 8-4 win over the Dodgers on Wednesday.
"We came here with the mindset we needed to win,'' said third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who had two RBIs. "(There are) a lot of games coming up so we need to keep fighting.''
Arias is 9 for 16 with two homers and eight RBIs in his last five games.
It's uncertain if All-Star catcher Buster Posey will be in the lineup after he was scratched Wednesday with tightness in his right hamstring. Posey is 1 for 11 in his last three games but 7 for 12 with three doubles and six RBIs against the Braves in 2012.
He's just 1 for 7 against scheduled starter Tommy Hanson (12-5, 4.27), who allowed three runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-3, 11-inning win over the Dodgers on Friday in his first start since missing more than two weeks with a lower back strain.
"I was happy with how I threw, but I know I can throw better," the right-hander told the Braves' official website.
Hanson, who has gone 3-0 in his last six starts despite a 6.00 ERA, is 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA in four starts - including the postseason - against the Giants.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
You could say that this one is a ball in the dirt. Pitching against the Padres, Giants pitcher Barry Zito was apparently trying to throw some sort of off-speed pitch, when the ball slipped out of his hands. Zito seemed confused when the ball wasn't traveling straight to the plate and instead was looping in the air. The ball landed about half-way to the plate and still somehow...
The Giants/Dodgers series is over. The Giants won all three games, scoring a total of 14 runs. Brandon Belt failed to get a hit in the series.
There were four commenters that guessed that the Giants would sweep. Of those four, neither correctly guessed the Giants’ total runs scored or Brandon Belt’s hit total. Therefore, the winners are the first two to correctly guess that...
Kris Medlen pitched seven shutout innings in his latest winning performance and Martin Prado's two-run double proved decisive to help the Braves end a four-game losing streak with a 5-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.
Medlen (5-1) allowed seven hits while striking out seven and walking one in his fifth start of the season. The Braves have won 16 consecutive...
Oh, well, Nats dropped a tough one last night to the Braves on Chipper Jones Appreciation Night at Nationals Park. No sweep, no worries? Well, at the very least nobody got hurt (especially Ian Desmond and his hammy).
Meanwhile, Bryce Harper achieved another Big League first last night: He swore not once, but twice in his postgame interview. Two s-bombs for Harper!
In the video...
Juan Nunez, who allegedly was responsible for the scheme to explain away Melky Cabrera's positive drug test, has been banned from major-league clubhouses, according to an ESPN.com report. Major League Baseball circulated a directive Tuesday to keep Nunez from "clubhouses or all non-public areas" of all 30 major league parks. Reports have alleged that Nunez, a consultant...
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Kris Medlen pitched seven shutout innings in his latest winning performance and Martin Prado's two-run double proved decisive to help the Braves end a four-game losing streak with a 5-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.
Medlen (5-1) allowed seven hits while striking out seven and walking one in his fifth start of the season. The Braves...
So San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera got suspended for 50 games after testing positive for a banned substance. That in it itself is not surprising when you consider the past history of Major League Baseball and what has gone on with the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs). What makes the Cabrera case even more disgusting are the reports that Cabrera tried to fabricate...
I felt like it might be awkward to keep running strips about Melky, but people can’t let it go, so this fits. Whether it’s about the fake website, or Melky’s future, or the Giants future, people are still talking about the aftereffects of his test. Heck, ESPN’s MLB page continues to have one of their flash panels dedicated to Cabrera non-stop this past week.
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Matt Cain pitched seven strong innings, Joaquin Arias homered and drove in a career-high five runs, and the San Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-4 on Wednesday night to extend their NL West lead to 2 games with their first three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium in five years.
The Giants arrived in Los Angeles trailing the Dodgers by a half-game and...
As Melky Cabrera has reminded us, we can’t believe that everything we see on the baseball diamond is legit. As a fan of the game, it’s extremely frustrating, I know. If you’re a fan of the American League team that wins the pennant, I wouldn’t blame you if your anger doesn’t come out until October, as the All-Star Game MVP had a lot to do with the National...
In light of Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon testing positive for performance-enhacing drugs, it's tough for baseball fans to not think the worst of any players enjoying suspicious amounts of success this season. Not every player deserves to be believed guilty until proven innocent, but unfortunately, that's a reality that many will have to face as the positive tests continue...
What would MLB do if it turned out that Melky Cabrera was “legitimately” using PEDs? For the same matter, what if Barry Bonds came out and told us that he had been using the “cream” and the “clear” but it was legitimate so we didn’t need to worry about it? I’m pretty sure that the fans and MLB would call bullsh*t on both of them.
By now I’m pretty sure you know...
The Los Angeles Dodgers went into Monday night with a half game lead over their rival the San Francisco Giants and finished Monday night a half game back of them after a 2-1 loss.
Clayton Kershaw pitched a beauty for the Dodgers tossing eight innings allowing two earned runs on six hits and zero walks while striking out 10 batters.
Madison Bumgarner was even better for the Giants...