The goal (completely arbitrary and not Gibby approved) for this 10-game road trip to Philadelphia, Atlanta and Washington is a 5-5 split. For the NL West division race that would be perfectly fine and with the way the Giants are playing might even add a half-game or two.
It's no surprise from a strictly schedule standpoint that after three games, the D-backs have some ground to make up. The Phillies are a really good baseball team so a 1-2 start to the trip can't be considered a disappointment. Now going into Atlanta (also a very good team at 73-52) the D-backs will get another good test.
With three games on tap and brand new pitcher in the mix, a series win would be a very pleasant surprise. Another 1-2 performance, however, wouldn't be the end of the world either. Either way, what we want to see is a better showing at the plate. Upton was shut down (1-12, 0 walks) in Philly, needs to show up against the Braves. We're past the point of expecting Kelly Johnson to wake up, but guys like Chris Young, Ryan Roberts and Willie Bloomquist need to perform better as well.
Mostly, it seemed the D-backs were overwhelmed by the moment in Philadelphia with both the competition and the attention they were getting from the East Coast media. Four errors in three games ain't gonna get 'er done. Period.
Here's how the pitching match ups break down for the Diamondbacks Braves series:
- Friday (4:35 p.m.) : Daniel Hudson (12-8, 3.76) vs. Derek Lowe (7-11, 4.89)
- Saturday (4:10 p.m.) : Wade Miley (0-0, 0.00) vs. Brandon Beachy (5-2, 3.43)
- Sunday (10:35 p.m.) : Josh Collmenter (7-7, 3.47) vs. Tim Hudson (12-7, 3.13)
If anyone has any idea how Wade Miley will pitch on Saturday, please contact me. I'm dying to find out.
For more on this series, go read this fantastic preview at AZ Snake Pit:
Series Preview #41: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Atlanta Braves - AZ Snake Pit
The 2011 Braves have a team ERA of 3.43. That's not luck, either, according to their team FIP of 3.43 and xFIP of 3.49. They've assembled an eye-popping assortment of young pitching, including Jair Jurrjens, Tommy Hanson, Brandon Beachy and Mike Minor in the rotation, and Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty to anchor the back of the bullpen.