The 2010 NLDS's first rematch will happen in San Francisco as the Braves head west for a 3 game weekend series.
Last year, the Braves were the team I afeared going into October. For good reason. Aside from the help of a subpar defenseman in the middle of the diamond, that series could have been vastly different than what we ended up with.
The Braves haven't been exactly setting the world on fire out of the gate, which I sort of expected considering that Bobby Cox is not at the helm. Cox was outstanding at not only evaluating talent, but figuring out how it fit in to whatever he was doing. His lineups and his in-game management probably gave the Braves an extra 10-15 wins every year.
This year, so far, they're 8-11, 4-6 away from home. Their catcher, McCann, is still their best hitter: which means they are having issues. But their best pitcher just got off the DL and he's going tonight, which means the Giants won't have to face him this weekend.
Game 1, the Giants skip over DL'd pitcher Z's spot in the ro-ro and go right to Bumgarner against Tommy Hanson. Hanson hasn't given up more than 3 runs in any start, but he still will come in with a 1-3 record: and that one win was his last start. Historically, against the Giants, he's been very good.
Conversely, Maddy has been scuffling a bit lately. However, in his last start, the D-Backs tuched him up early, but when the Giants came back and took the lead, Maddy suddlenly pitched very good. PErhaps he's shaking the April butterflies. Either way, the Giants will have to score early and give Maddy a bit of breath. I'd like to see Code-Man get a batting average (he's 0 for 4) and I hope Panda Bear's back.
Game 2 may have the makings of a very good game. Lincecum vs Tim Hudson. Hudson has always pitched well against the Giants, but Timmy is -- well you know. The key will be to make Huddy throw a lot of pitches, work the count, get as much as you can, and se eif you can get him out by the 5th or 6th. Timmy will just have to pitch well. Considering that the Braves are hitting in the .230's as a team: that shouldn't be difficult.
This should be the game that Bochy rests some guys in lieu of a fella or two who can work a count. Schierholtz would be a good option, and Fontenot always gives good at bats, even if they don't always end well.
Game 3 will be Brandon Beachy against Jonathan Sanchez, this week coined as the moody artists of the Giants by Brian Murphy.
Sanchez has been great, and last year was wonderful against the Braves. And while Beachy is another one of those high-losses vs low-ERA guys, the Giants have a knack for turning those guys' ERAs inside out (see D-Backs series).
So, for this upcoming series, and mini-homestand, the Giants should get 2 out of 3. I'd expect Sanchie to win his game, and more than likely Timmy. That makes Maddy's game (game 1) the gravy game.