Friday, May 18, 2012

Series Preview: Braves @ Rays

Interleague is back. Ugh. Let it be known that I am not a fan of any of this crap, but we're stuck with it from here on out. The first stretch is down in Tampa for a 3 game series, so here's how that plays out:

Game 1: Hanson v. Shields
Game 2: Delgado v. Cobb
Game 3: Hudson v. Price

I like our matchups here except for Game 3. In game one, Shields is 6-1 with a 3.52 ERA, but he's been winning games with run support rather than dominant stuff. In his last 4 games, he's given up 17 runs, and he doesn't get past the 6th inning. That's a good thing, because the TB bullpen has a mediocre 3.95 ERA (19th in the majors). Thing is, you don't want to be down in the 9th, because their closer Rodney is every bit as good as Kimbrel. Where Shields has been getting worse over his last 4, Hanson has been getting better. Hanson only gave up 8 runs in his last 4 starts, 4 of which came in the wild 15-13 game against Philly. Of the 22 ABs that TB hitters have had on Hanson, they are batting for a tiny .091 average. That's pretty slick to me eye.

Delgado is still worrysome mostly because we do that thing at the plate. What's that thing? Nothing. We do nothing at the plate when he's pitching, and we're all worse as fans for watching it. Delgados last 3 outings went for 20.2 innings and 3 earned runs. Those are Beachy-like numbers. Yet Brandon has 3 wins, and Delgado has none. Brandon's had 21 runs of support, Delgado has had 4. This is on the lineup, not the pitcher. As for Cobb, he's nothing special on the Rays. He's a AAA prospect with a 1-4 record and a 4.14 ERA. We should be able to hit THAT guy, and Delgado has been pitching well. One would hope for a win in this matchup.

Hudson v. Price is a tough matchup to call. Price is good. VERY good. He's a 6-6, 220 pound lefty out of Vandy with 4 years of gunslinger experience in the bigs. The man is a strikeout artist as he averages 5.5 a start over his career. He can, and will, go deep into games. Over his last 5 starts, he's 4-1 averaged 7.1 innings and gave up 11 runs. Huddy's only had 4 starts this season, but he's been sharp. 2 wins and a 0-1 loss in Chicago have all been pretty solid. The one outlier is the odd start in Colorado where he got roughed up. If you go by his last two start, we're in for a whale of a duel. I'd keep an Keppinger is he gets a start against Huddy. That would mean Maddon is looking at the numbers, and Keppinger is batting .529 against Hudson in 17 ABs. That's unhealthy for us.

All in all, it's an interleague matchup, so you're not going to find a lot of historical background for these matchups. That's part of the reason I hate them as a stats guy. Also, I'm a bit of a purist, and I will go to my grave thinking the DH is the worst thing to happen to baseball, tied with Tim McCarver and Joe Morgan being allowed in an announcer booth. In any case, the games should provide for an interesting weekend with a good 4PM afternoon start on Saturday. We'll need some runs, so why not score 26 this series Braves? That seems reasonable right? GO GET EM!

Go Braves!

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