Fan’s Preview: Will Joaquin Arias and San Francisco Giants Bring Momentum Back Home Against Atlanta Braves?

Yahoo Contributor Network

Thanks to the heroics of Joaquin Arias, the San Francisco Giants earned their first sweep in Los Angeles since 2007. Now returning home for a series against the Atlanta Braves, the Giants will face one of the few NL teams owning a better record than them. At 71-53, the Braves are atop the NL wild-card standings despite coming off a series loss to the Washington Nationals.

In the series finale, Arias had three hits and a career-high five RBIs in his first start this season as the No. 5 hitter. With Buster Posey sitting out Wednesday after the recommendation by trainers after his right hamstring stiffened up Tuesday night, Arias hit after Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence in the lineup in favor of Hector Sanchez and Brandon Belt. In his last 10 starts, Arias has scored seven runs, batted in 11 runs, and put together a .462 batting average.

For this series opener, the Giants will look for Barry Zito to get back on track against the Braves. Sporting a 7.52 ERA in his last four starts, Zito did have success in last start against Atlanta, throwing seven shutout innings in a 9-0 Giants victory. As for Braves starter Tommy Hanson, this will only be his second start since coming off the 15-day disabled list.

Matchup:

The San Francisco Giants will host the Atlanta Braves at AT&T Park located in San Francisco, CA on Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 7:15 p.m. PT. This will be the first game in a four-game series.

Season series:

Giants lead season series 2-1.

Standings:

Atlanta comes into the matchup with a 71-53 record and in second place in the National League East. They are 35-24 when playing on the road and have won five of their last 10 games.

San Francisco enters the game with a 69-55 record and in first place in the National League West. They are 35-26 when playing at home and have won seven of their last 10 games.

Starting pitcher matchup:

Atlanta: Tommy Hanson

2012 season: 12-5, 4.27 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 119 Ks

Numbers vs. Giants in last five years: 2-0, 2.14 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 21 Ks

San Francisco: Barry Zito

2012 season: 9-8, 4.42 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 79 Ks

Numbers vs. Braves in last five years: 2-0, 1.29 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 19 Ks

Where to watch and listen to the game:

The game can be watched and heard live locally at the following:

In Atlanta: SPSO, WNNX 100.5, & WCNN 680

In San Francisco: CSN-BA HD, KNBR 680, & KTRB 860

Batting statistic leaders:

Atlanta: Chipper Jones - .310 batting average; Jason Heyward - 21 home runs; Freddie Freeman - 77 RBIs

San Francisco: Buster Posey - .327 batting average; Buster Posey - 19 home runs; Buster Posey - 79 RBIs

Sources:

Giants welcome Braves for key four-game set, MLB.com

Braves-Giants Preview, AP

Giants optimistic they'll have Posey, Sandoval vs. Braves, CSN Bay Area

Joaquin Arias Game Log, Yahoo! Sports

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Austin Chang is a lifelong San Francisco Bay Area native, baseball fan, and supporter of the San Francisco Giants. Follow this Featured Contributor on Google+ and Twitter @_austinchang.

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