Here we go again. Less than a week after playing the Reds, we're playing the Reds. Somehow we got screwed on a two game homestand while they get four. I'll add that to the ever-growing list of things I am disgusted by with our schedule this year. Also we play the Yankees six times. Do they play the Phillies or the Marlins? Noooooooo. Just us, the Mets, and the Nats. Whatever, MLB.
Game 1: Minor v. Leake
Game 2: Beachy v. Latos
Game 3: Hanson v. Arroyo
Game 4: Delgado v. Bailey
Right off the bat, I'll tell you not to watch Game 1 if you're a casual Braves fan. Then again, if you're a casual Braves fan you're not reading THIS blog. It's going to be ugly. Minor's problems are well documented here, and I won't rehash them for the 5th time. Leake's nickname in Cincy is "Oil Leake" since he has a lovely 0-5 record with a 6.21 ERA. This game has the potential to be a pitching disaster. Now, given that's it's also going to be nationally televised on ESPN (and God only knows what the programming director was thinking on that one) expect these two really young kids to probably toss batting practice in a small park. If we can get to the pen with a lead, we can take this game.
Beachy and Latos. With a 2-2 record and a 4.63 ERA, Latos isn't scaring anybody. Also, do yourself a favor and look at his profile picture on ESPN. Dude looks completely stoned. Seriously, he looks like a guy you'd see in Quicktrip at 1AM with a giant bag of Funyuns staring at the soda fountain because it's shiny. He hasn't managed to go longer than 5 innings in his last two starts. Again, he probably got distracted by shiny things. Beachy, on the other hand, is the best pitcher in the major leagues. He's won three straight, going 21 innings with 3 runs and 17 strikeouts. On paper, this game is a complete mismatch in favor of the Braves.
Arroyo is that old long-hair with the ridiculous leg kick. In his last two starts, Arroyo hasn't been sharp, giving up 4 earned each time. Against the Mets, he gave up 2 bombs in a losing effort 0-4. Also, he's never had a win at home. The Reds are 3-1 in his home starts, but Arroyo was never involved in the decision. In all those wins, the Reds just happened to outslug their opposition. Tommy Hanson won't let them do that if he can get past the first few innings unscathed. Tommy has won 2 straight, both on the road, and only given up 3 runs in 12 innings. Tommy's claim to fame is that he always gives you a chance to win if your lineup can hit the ball that day. Give him 3 runs or more? He's undefeated on the year.
Delgado and Bailey is a crapshoot. At this point, I'm wondering if Delgado will ever get another win. In 5 games now, he's received 8 runs of help. That's 1.6 runs a game. Bear in mind that on a regular day, regardless of who starts, the Braves average 5.14 runs a game. If the Braves had just scored their average amount of runs for Delgado, he would have been 4-1 over his last 5 starts. Instead he's 0-3. Bailey is not a good pitcher, but we made him look like Cliff Lee when he pitched in Atlanta last week. Take away that game, and Bailey has a 6.75 ERA in his last 3 starts. We need to treat him like the terrible pitcher he actually is, and get Delgado some freaking runs.
I'll spout my old line about any 4 game series. Go 2-2 and the rest is gravy, especially on the road. Given our pitching matchups, I think we can go 2-2 and move on with our lives. I'd take that right now. Let's at least hope Minor can improve out there on the mound tonight. Keep the ball down, kid! Small park!