Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Series Preview: Braves @ Marlins

The weather here in Atlanta is terrible today. I'm hoping the weather in Florida is dramatically different, because nobody would be playing any baseball here on this rainy Tuesday. Oh no wait, it doesn't matter if it's raining there, because they can close the roof on that disaster of a ballpark. I will give them credit for that. Retractable roofs are pretty awesome. Do you think that on offdays, some guy is sitting there like Homer Simpson going, "Roof goes up, roof goes down, roof goes up, roof goes down..." over and over? If I had the remote control for that thing, I could amuse myself for hours.

Game 1: Hudson v. Sanchez
Game 2: Delgado v. Johnson
Game 3: Minor (supposedly) v. Buehrle

Hudson has concerned me of late. His last two starts had a combined 14 hits and 12 runs. During that stretch his ERA skyrocketed from 3.03 to 4.60. An ERA over 4.00? I'm struggling to remember the last time Hudson had such a thing 10+ games into a season. In fact, the last time Huddy had an ERA for the season over four was in 2006. And we all remember how awful 2006 was. (In case you don't, we finished 4 games under .500 and 18 games back of the freaking Mets). Also, if I'm going to pinpoint one guy Hudson needs to watch out for, it's Chris Coghlan. He's 8/14 with 2 doubles and 2 RBIs against Tim. Nobody else on the Marlins even approaches those numbers. In the top half the inning, we have Anibal Sanchez going for the fish. Holy smokes, who is THIS guy? A 2.57 ERA flamethrowing rightie out of Venezuela, is who. Normally, you can dismiss him as a 50/50 starter with a 3.61 career ERA, but he's pitching over his head right now. Sanchez has 67 Ks in 10 games, so if you're Uggla, Heyward, or anybody else on the team that likes to freewheel at the plate, look out. The guy who can get him on our team is Prado. He's 12/27 with a bomb and 4 RBIs against Anibal. Bourn isn't far behind at a 5/14 rate with 2 doubles. The top of the order needs to bury Sanchez for us to be successful.

Delgado. What the heck am I supposed to do with you? You win, then you lose 3. Then you win, and you lose 3 more. Just when I'm ready to write you off, you pull me back in. I will give you credit though for breaking up the horrible losing streak. I'd love it if you got that ERA under 4.50 too. That would be super. Oh and stop the "disaster inning" stuff. You are better than that. As for Johnson, don't let the 4.83 ERA fool you. Josh had a nuclear meltdown in April, and he's guided himself back to normalcy in May. In his last 5 starts, he's yet to give up more than 3 runs. The Marlins haven't lost with him on the mound since April 29th. He's the reverse Delgado. No matter how bad he pitches, the Marlins still win. Give up 8 runs? Marlins get 9 and win. Give up 6 runs? Marlins get 7 and win. Delgado went 6.2 innings of one-run ball against Cincy and lost. We're probably doomed in this one.

Is Minor still on the team? Isn't it just time for us to stop listing him on the pre-game reports so I don't have to write about him anymore? He's the pitching equivilant of a pan of brownies that you stuck the toothpick in (repeatedly I might add), and it came out covered in sticky goo. Put him back in the AAA oven for another 8 months, and we'll discuss this again in March. IF he goes, he goes against Buehrle. Whereas Johnson has been improving on the Marlins from a terrible start, Buehrle is descending slowly into madness. Mark has a 4.85 ERA in his last 4 starts, he can't strike out batters, and he only went 5 innings with 11 hits against Philly last game. Philly can't hit, but they scorched him for 11. We can take this guy.

Here are some stats from the last 7 days to watch for in the series. Jose Constanza is batting .545 on the week. I love that little guy. He's like a jackrabbit that can hit. Also, Prado and Uggla have OBP at .412, and Bourn is at .389 in his last 4 games. The top half of the lineup is red-hot. The bottom half is not. Diaz is batting .200, Heyward is batting .214, and Simmons is batting .143, so I think we're going to have to do our damage in the 1-5 slots. Maybe we'll get some good views of Simmons out at SS though defensively. That guy lived up to billing in his first series. Wow! So much better than Pastornicky with the glove. I like the change.

Go Braves!

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