Normally, I don't preview interleague, but Boston happens to be our AL rival, going back to the olden days when the Braves franchise was actually in Boston. So with that in mind, here's a quick breakdown of what to look forward to this weekend, besides the ridiculous heat in Atlanta.
Game 1: Jurrjens v. Lester
Game 2: Delgado v. Morales
Game 3: Minor v. Buchholz
Ah yes, there's a pitching rotation that strikes fear into our foes. If you can't see my sarcasm bleeding through your screen, contact your eye doctor. You may have astigmatism. We'll start with JJ. Never in your life will you see a more anticipated start by an 0-2 pitcher with a 9.37 ERA. I will bank on that. JJ has some career stats against the Sawwks (that's Boston idiot for Sox), but they aren't really encouraging. He'll have to negotiate Big Papi Ortiz, since the 6 times he's faced the DH Ortiz has 3 hits with 2 dingers. Also, Pedroia has been pesky with a .375 average lifetime off JJ. The way Boston stacks the hitters, if JJ can wade carefully thru the 2-4 spots, he's got room to work on the latter half of the lineup. Flipside, Lester's 4-4 with a 4.53 ERA, and he's been iffy at best in his last 5 starts. Boston hasn't given up less than 3 runs when Lester starts since May 14th against the crappy Mariners. That bodes well for us, since 3 is our magic number.
Delgado is cursed so I won't bother with his numbers. If we can hit for him, he'll win. Morales is a converted bullpen guy they've moved up to the rotation because Beckett's on the DL. Given our track record against random guys we've never seen before who probably shouldn't be good, he'll probably throw a no-hitter against us. Is that too pessimistic? If the game was on a Monday I'd tell you to watch HGTV. It would be more compelling. You ever see Pirates of the Caribbean where the Curse of Cortez turns the pirates into undead? That's what the Curse of Delgado does to our hitters. They become zombies.
Minor is still pitching. He's getting better, but I'm still not throwing bouquets at the kid because he's only had one win in his last 6 starts. The ERA is still over 6.00 and until that gets respectable, I'm still wanting him gone. I'm a big picture guy, and the reality is that with Minor in our big picture game-to-game, we're not a good team. Meanwhile, Clay Buchholz is 8-2, but mysteriously has a 5.53 ERA. He's won four games in a row and his run support has been robust to say the least. In fact, in his wins the Sawwks have scored 61 runs for him. If Minor can pitch like he did against Miami at the beginning of the month, we'll be fine. If he pitches like he did against the Yankees last game, we're doomed.
All in all, pitching won't decide this series. It's a war of the lineups, and a test of who's hotter. For us, that's Jason Heyward and Andrelton Simmons. For them, it's David Ortiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Who will emerge victorious? Who will RISE UP! Oh wait, that's the Falcons. Nevermind. Who will GO YARD! All we need is Samuel L Jackson and a choir in the background singing, "Braves, Go Yard!"