Thursday, April 19, 2012

Braves @ Diamondbacks: Series Preview

It's a 4 game series with a long distance flight and no travel day. Needless to say I'm not a fan of this scheduling Selig! Where were you on this one? Do the Brewers travel to the the West Coast on no travel day this season? Let me check! Hmm, they actually have to play the Padres in San Diego on Monday after a game in St. Louis on Sunday. You win this round, Selig.

On to the series. Here are your proposed matchups:

Game 1 - Minor v. Collmenter
Game 2 - Beachy v. Cahill
Game 3 - Hanson v. Saunders
Game 4 - Delgado v. Kennedy

I'll start by saying that we are both 7-5 teams who are scoring runs at a pretty solid clip. If you told me we go into Arizona and emerge 2-2, I'm taking it and moving on. I think most fans should feel the same way when your team is looking down the barrel of a quick turnaround road trip, followed by a series against the supremely hot Dodgers.

The Minor v. Collmenter match is a winnable game for us. Collmenter is a 26 year old righty who doesn't have much of history against our lineup. However, Freddy Freeman owns this guy, having gone 3/5 in his ABs against him. The Braves are batting well against righties, having put up 9 Homers in 12 games, and BMac, Bourne, Heyward, and Hinske are all sporting a .280 average in those matchups. Conversely, only Hill, Young, and Montero are performing against lefties right now, with Chris Young being the standout. Key to this game: DON'T PITCH TO YOUNG. He is the David Wright of the Diamondbacks. Do not let him kill you, Minor.

Beachy v. Cahill is a wash. Both are pitching at their peak right now, and somebody has to blink. Beachy holds a 3.30 ERA on the road in 14 starts for his career, and Cahill is a 3.24 ERA pitcher at home. They are both younger, 3 year vets, and right-handed. Really, all this game will come down to is who puts together a hot inning. At the very least I like the odds of our lineup against a righty given the recent success. I think we should take this game with the bats. Are you pitching to Young? No, you are not.

Hanson v. Saunders. Which Tommy shows up? Do we get the Tommy that pitched against the Astros, or the Tommy that pitched against the Mets? If Mets Tommy shows up, I may have better things to do that Saturday than watch the damage. Saunders, on the other hand, has been terrifyingly consistent. He's had two starts, gone seven innings in both of them, and only given up one earned run. ONE RUN. Winning this game would be a steal, or a pitchers duel where Tommy outguns Saunders. I'm not holding my breath, but weirder things have happened. Hey Tommy, that Young guy? No Bueno.

Delgado v. Kennedy. How many times have I said I don't trust Delgado so far? I still don't trust Delgado. He has two starts and two wins, so I should feel awesome about him right? I don't. We scored 15 runs in his two wins, and he kid almost never has a clean inning. He has been able to pitch out of trouble, but I'm not going to annoint him as a stud yet. Kennedy is a strikeout machine and leads his team. That means guys like Uggla and Freeman may struggle against him. He doesn't walk a lot of people, so this is one of the few times were I would tell the hitters to be looking for a fastball first pitch and drive it. The positive note: He got beat by Pittsburgh at home. He's gettable, Young is not. Don't pitch to him! None this series. Throw two at his ribs just to make sure he gets the message on the way out.

As I've said, 2-2 and I'm happy. Let's go out there and make it happen.

Go Braves!

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