Friday, April 13, 2012
Series Preview: Brewers @ Braves
Finally, the Braves are going to play at Turner Field. After a poor start and a good finish to the road trip, I'm glad to see our boys take the field inside the comforting confines of the Ted. Here's a rundown on your matchups for the weekend.
Game 1: Wolf v. Jurrjens
Game 2: Marcum v. Minor
Game 3: Narveson v. Beachy
Minor and Jurrjens got roughed up in their first outing, so you would hope they can bounce back quickly against a Brewers lineup that's not hitting well in 7 games. I think Beachy should be able to anchor the series well since he's shown signs of being our second best starter in the absence of Hudson for April. Wolf lost his first start of the year as well with 3 runs on five innings, so it's an even match against JJ in terms of stats. Marcum was able to go a little deeper into his game than Minor, so he got the win on his 4.50, and he has the advantage against our younger hurler. Narveson and Beachy should be a war. Both pitched well, both have low ERAs, but both of them are prone to putting people on base. That game will come down to who is hot at the plate and gets the keys hits.
As I mentioned before the Brewers have been struggling to hit the ball of late. They were crushed 8-0 by the Cubs in their last game, and if you know anything about the Cubs, you know they are NOT a good team. Right now, the Brewers entire infield is batting a combined .172 for the year. In contrast, the platoon of outfielders they have is batting .293 on the season. Shocking nobody, Ryan Braun is leading the team in hits. Somebody might want to check his urine. On no wait, we tried that and apparently Fedex negates chemicals. I'm sure he's clean now. But just in case he's not, let's hope Braves fans get creative out there in left field. Bonus points to you if you get on TV with this sign: "When you absolutely, positively, get off on a technicality? Trust FEDEX."
My plan for winning these games would be to abuse their position players and pitch around their outfield. If we focus our outs primarily on the guys who are struggling, and avoid walking them, we should be in good shape. On our end, we need Chipper, Prado, and Heyward to stay hot, and we need our traditional power hitters to find the groove. McCann and Uggla haven't been seeing the ball well yet as they already have 9 Ks in 42 ABs. Freeman is also in a slump right now and Bourn is a non-factor unless he walks.
If I was expecting two of those guys to get it together against these Brewers pitchers, I'd say look for McCann and Bourn to have a big weekend. Both will be looking to coax counts in their favor, and these pitchers don't make many of their outs on the ground. I'd expect that if Bourn can find a few gaps he'll have a huge series due to his speed, and I have no doubt BMac will have at least one homer during these three games. You can take that to the bank!
This series is ours for the taking. I think we can take 2 of 3, depending on which JJ shows up. Here's looking at a full Turner Field and a great weekend of chopping away the Brewers.