It’s hard to be disappointed with what Aaron Harang has given the Dodgers thus far this season. In three starts, the Harangatang has allowed 10 ER – not spectacular by any stretch of the imagination, but exactly what the Dodgers need from their fifth starter. They need him to continue going deep into games (6+ innings last two starts), and most importantly, keep winning (2-0 in last two).
After a rough start in his Dodger debut, Harang has rebounded nicely. In game one, he allowed 5 walks and struck out 6. In his last two starts, he has allowed just 3 walks and has struck out 17. Against an up-and-comer in Mike Minor, the Dodgers will need that improvement to continue unless they can muster an unlikely offensive explosion.
Atlanta Braves (10-7) at Los Angeles Dodgers (13-4)
7:10 PM PST, April 23, 2012
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
Radio: 570 AM (English), 1020 AM (Spanish)
Game-Time Weather: 60 degrees, partly cloudy
Promotion: Sleeved Blanket
Braves Projected Starters:
P: Mike Minor
C: Brian McCann
1B: Freddie Freeman
2B: Dan Uggla
SS: Tyler Pastornicky
3B: Chipper Jones
LF: Martin Prado
CF: Michael Bourn
RF: Jason Heyward
Key Bench Players: SS Jack Wilson, OF Matt Diaz
For more information on the Braves, check out our pre-series report.
Dodgers Last 10: (7-3): W vs ATL, L @ HOU, W @ HOU, W @ HOU, W @ MIL, L @ MIL, L @ MIL, W vs SD, W vs SD, W vs SD.
Braves Last 10: (7-3): L @ LA, L @ ARI, W @ ARI, W @ ARI, W @ ARI, W vs NYM, W vs NYM, L vs NYM, W vs MIL, W vs MIL.
- In 12 innings against the Braves last season, Harang allowed 10 ER, including one game in which he allowed 3 HRs.
- Mike Minor is making his second career start against the Dodgers. Last season he was out-dueled by Nathan Eovaldi in a 2-1 Dodgers victory.
- Brian McCann is 11-for-20 lifetime against Harang with 2 HRs and 7 RBIs. In fact, all four Braves who have faced Harang 15 or more times (McCann, Dan Uggla, Michael Bourne, Jack Wilson and Chipper Jones) boast a batting average of .333 or higher. As a team, the Braves have a career .351 average with nine HRs in 168 at-bats.
Keys to a Dodger Victory:
– Get Rivera going
In the seven days leading up to this series, Rivera was just 4-for-20 from the plate. If Rivera continues to slow down, the quality of pitches seen by Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier could diminish greatly.
– Don’t let Minor settle in
In three starts this season, Minor’s season resembles Harang’s in a lot of ways. After a rough outing in his first start (5 IP, 6 ER), Minor has been incredible since. In his last two starts he is 2-0 with 15.1 IP, having allowed 7 hits with 13 strikeouts. In the one game he was rattled in, the Mets were able to get on the board in the first inning for one run.
Best-Case Prediction: Dodgers 6, Braves 4
Worst-Case: Braves 4, Dodgers 1