And they'll face the Braves to do it. The Braves who, despite going 17-11 in August, are 1-5 in September, and on a five-game losing streak, having just got swept in a three-gamer by the Reds. At home.
Paulino is making his second statement start of September tonight. He needed to come out and show something to Ed Wade and Cecil Cooper last Wednesday at Wrigley Field, and did exactly that. Will he get complacent and assume his job is wrapped up? Or will he come out with something to prove? We won't be doing the splits for Paulino for this game, because he's been all over the place with starting/relieving, but it is worth noting that in his 6IP, 4H/2ER, 7K:2BB (the only blemish was the homer to Derrek Lee), Paulino allowed more than one baserunner in two innings, throwing between 10 and 22 pitches per inning.
Javier Vazquez is thriving in his new surroundings in Atlanta, with a deceptively poor 11-9 record, despite a 3.18 ERA. But that's how the Braves' offense rolls. Like Houston's.
Last three appearances:
2009 road: 7-2, 3.30 ERA/1.05 WHIP, 87.1IP, 92K:19BB
Vazquez hasn't pitched against Houston since June 2006, but he is 0-4 in his last five starts against the Astros (dating back to 2002) with a 6.28 ERA.
Let's do the splits:
vs Righties: .220/.259/.327, 100K:16BB
vs Lefties: .243/.286/.409, 99K:20BB
When swinging at the first pitch (85): .321/.321/.526, 10XBH (3HR)
After First-Pitch Strikes (406): .208/.233/.314, 148K:11BB
After First-Pitch Balls (237): .243/.326/.414, 51K:25BB
RISP: 28x129, .217/.275/.349, 44K:10BB
Runners on: 56x246, .228/.275/.374, 76K:15BB
2OwRISP: 13x62, .210/.290/.226, 21K:7BB