Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Series Preview: KC Royals

Welcome to Inter-league play. It will be going on constantly throughout the regular season due to the Astros moving to the AL. The means starting tonight we have a pair of home games with the Royals. Considering that A - it's Tuesday/Wednesday for the series, B - spring break is over, and C - 95% of Braves fans can't name a single Royals player of the top of their head, I expect these games to be pretty lightly attended. If we show up in droves, that would be a pleasant way to support the streak.

Game 1: Medlen v. Guthrie
Game 2: Minor v. Davis

Medlen had a much better outing in Miami than he did against Philly. Then again, that was Miami, the little engine that went off the rails. I'm not quite sure if Medlen has found his groove like Huddy, Minor, or Maholm. However, he does look like he's improving with every start. I'd look for this to be another. Also, he gets to throw against Jeff Franceour (he's on the Royals? Yes, he is), who I expect will get mildly booed by the home town fans. We have bad memories of life before Heyward. Jeff's name is now synonymous with wild potential that failed miserably in an Atlanta uniform. Medlen goes against Guthrie, a career 4.27 ERA guy who is pitching better early in the season at 3.55 ERA. Guthrie is undefeated in his two starts, facing the Twins and the White Sox. That sounds impressive until you realize the Twins and White Sox have fewer COMBINED wins than the Braves. We are undoubtedly the best team he's faced thus far, and the Twins touched him up for 4 earned runs in his last outing. I think we can do even more damage against the righty. Plus he's never faced Justin Upton or Evan Gattis before. Giddyup.

Game 2 has the Royals throwing Wade Davis, another righty, at our lineup. He has also not lost on the season, and he's also posting a rather high ERA early at 3.95 in two games. Philly roughed him up for 4 runs, but the Royals put 13 on their defense, so it didn't matter. The Twins didn't get anything but he only went 5 innings. In 2 starts, he's never gone further than 5 IP, which means we may be able to get to the Royals pen early. Good thing or bad thing? Not really a great thing. The KC bullpen actually has a lower ERA than their starters. I think we should be hacking against these guys. We don't do ourselves many favors by trying to extend the game. Minor is undefeated in his last 2 games with 2 wins and a 0.69 ERA. He's dealing right now, and we'll need it against a KC lineup that's +11 in run differential with a 7-5 record that is tied for the AL Central lead with Detroit. The key will be that Minor is a lefty, and KC only has 2 homers off lefties this season. That limits a lot of their damage because KC needs to string together hits to score runs. Minor's WHIP is a very low 0.85 currently. Advantage Minor.

The CPA has been doing well with win predictions, but it reversed the blowouts in the Nats series. Game 2 was the close game it thought would be wide open, and Game 3 was the blowout it thought would be close. At the end of the game, a win's a win, and it's 9-3 on the season.

CPA Prediction Game 1: Braves 5 - Royals 2

The CPA likes Medlen against a Royals lineup with an overall sub .700 OPS against RH pitching. Also, it likes the fact that the Braves offense is averaging about 6 runs over their last five games, while the Royals are only averaging about 3.5 in their last 5. Let's keep the streak going.


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