Friday, May 4, 2012

Series Preview: Braves @ Rockies

I love Colorado. It's probably my favorite place in the United States to spend a summer or winter season. The only reason I don't live there full time is that the shoulder seasons are completely brutal, and the cost of living in the actual mountains is astronomical. Even my parents, who have plenty of resources to live where they want, only live there half the year. The weather simply isn't ideal all the time. If you want that, you live in San Diego. That's why when we play in Colorado, I always get excited because it conjures fun memories of my trips there. Let's hope the Braves have a fun trip to the Rockies as well.

Game 1: Hudson v. Muscoso
Game 2: Minor v. Moyer
Game 3: Beachy v. Nicasio

I'll go ahead and admit right up front that I've never heard of two of these guys. If you haven't heard of Moyer, you're not a baseball fan. The guy has been playing since we had the Negro Leagues. Not really, but it seems like it. That said, I believe we have two of our best pitchers with Huddy and Beachy going in this series, so without even digging into the numbers I'm already confident.

With Hudson v. Muscoso (who I will nickname Mucus because it's easier to type) I think it comes down to experience. Mucus is a 28 year old righty from Venezuela who pitched one game this season for a 10.80 ERA. Huddy has pitched one game this season for a 3.60 ERA. Mucus is the 3 year vet with 8 wins. Huddy is a 13 year vet with 182 wins. Mucus can't carry Huddy's jock. This is a mismatch. The downside is that Giambi and Helton really hit Huddy well, and if you're not careful with them they can ruin your game. In their careers against Hudson, Giambi has 3 HRs and a .391 average, Helton is batting .667 and has 7 RBIs. Considering that both of them are not hitting well so far this season, I see no reason to let them get right again us. A few walks wouldn't bother me. None of our hitters have ever faced Mucus, so let's just light him up and win this game.

Minor and Moyer is another battle of the youth versus experience. Moyer has been in the majors longer than Minor has been alive. Roll that around in your head for a while. In addition to being able to tell the players on the Rockies what living through the Vietnam War was like, Moyer is also good for about 5.5 innings a game. Prado, BMac, and Chip all rake against Jaime. They all have .333+ averages with a combined 18 RBIs, 9 doubles, and 5 homers. If they are set up correctly with Freddy getting the 3 spot, we could have a solid lineup against Moyer in the 1-5 spots considering how hot Bourn is right now. Minor is coming off a horrible game against the Pirates, but he had three solid starts prior to that. Look for him to rebound in this game. None of the Rockies have seen him before, and he's been very solid for us with the exception of that last start.

Beachy also has very little history agains these Rockies hitters, and he is en fuego right now with a 1.38 ERA. Nicasio is a righty out of the Dominican with a 4.40 ERA and a 2-0 record. Why? Because the Rockies put up 6 and 8 runs in his starts against SD and LA. Nicasio likely won't go more than 6 innings, he will most likely give up at least one homer, and he is prone to walking patient hitters. I believe we can light this kid up if we frustrate him and get his pitch count up. If we're first pitch swinging and making life easy on him? That's a recipe for disaster. I doubt Beachy can hold a 1.38 ERA in the Colorado air. We'll have to score, and we'll have to capitalize when we get our chances. I would like a 4-10 RISP line in this game. I can wrap that around myself like a warm blanket.

As for the bullpens, ours has a 4.19 ERA this season, but a lot of that is Livan, EOF, and Durbin. Theirs is a 3.97 ERA, but outside of Betancourt nobody in their pen really scares me. I think our goal should be to knock these young kids from the Rockies out fast so we can get to a ho-hum bullpen. Moyer will knock himself out because he's old. OOOOOOOOOLD. As for the series in totality, we have the better pitchers, we have the better record, and we have bigger threats in the lineup. This is a series we should win. Nay, this is a series we MUST win to establish a quality road trip against a .500 ballclub.

Go Braves!

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