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
TV: KCAL
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, @ HOU, @ HOU, W @ HOU, @ MIL, @ MIL, @ MIL, W vs SD, vs SD, W vs SD.
Braves Last 10:
 (7-3): L @ LA, @ ARI, @ ARI, @ ARI, @ ARI, vs NYM, vs NYM, vs NYM, vs MIL, vs MIL.

Fun Facts:

  • 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

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