I really shouldn't have to break down how this series features two teams trending in different directions. The Braves are 5-1, the Marlins are 1-5. Atlanta has a run differential of +15, the Marlins have one of -13. The Braves sold out their home opener with standing room only. The Marlins are suing their season ticket holders. In short, the Marlins stink.
Game 1: Maholm v. Slowey
Game 2: Medlen v. LeBlanc
Game 3: Minor v. Sanabia
It's the 3 M-igos in the rotation (somebody trademark that for me please), versus whatever the Marlins have in storage. In game one, you have the right-handed Slowey versus the lefty Maholm. This is probably the best matchup of the series. Slowey did pretty well in his start against the Nationals, only giving up 1 runs in 5 innings. The problem was that the Marlins didn't score any runs, and the bullpen gave up 2 more to go with it. Slowey has never faced the majority of Braves batters, except for Heyward and BJ. In those 6 combined ABs, both of them have 4 hits including a double and a homer. The rest of the lineup should be licking their chops. Maholm fired off a 5.2 inning shutout against the Phillies in his first outing. My only concern with him in this start is the Marlins outfield, all of whom have posted strong numbers against Maholm in the past. In fact, the Marlins outfield is a combined 9/26 with a double and 2 triples against Maholm lifetime. I'd look to avoid giving them something to hit if they come with with RISP. The good news is that nobody in the Marlins lineup has a homer off of Maholm, so he can limit the damage there.
Game 2 has Medlen coming off his mediocre Philly loss in the cold versus LeBlanc who got touched up for 3 runs in 5 innings against the Nats. LeBlanc doesn't like to see Jason Heyward roll into town. Jason owns this guy with a .444 average, .889 slugging, and a 1.389 OPS. The only downside is Freddie won't be in the lineup, and he has similar numbers against LeBlanc. Then again, LeBlanc has also given up homers to BJ and Uggs as well. There are opportunities for runs here. Most of the Fish don't fare well against Medlen. However, there are two exceptions. Placido Polanco may be old, but he doesn't miss Medlen's pitches. He's 4/5 lifetime off the kid. Also, Donovan Solano has crushed Medlen for 4/7 with two bombs and 3 RBIs. We really REALLY want to avoid leaving anything over the plate against him. Otherwise? Just win baby.
Game 3 is Minor going against Sanabia, a guy I've never heard of. Sanabia actually pitched really well against the Mets with 6 innings of shutout ball. Minor did 7.1 innings of 1 run ball. Nobody really has any action against Sanabia except Heyward. Guess what? He's 4/8 against him. I also wouldn't use pitching stats against the Mets to benchmark Sanabia's talent. Then again, the guy didn't pitch at all in 2012 in the majors. He might be good, he might get murdered by our lineup. We just don't have the data on him yet. We do have data on Minor, and the only guy he needs to watch out for is Stanton. Giancarlo has taken him yard twice in 6 ABs. I think we should pitch around him. This one is going to be really hard to project, so we should probably just win the first two and play with house money.
The CPA is now 4-2 with the sweep over the Cubs. We're getting some more solid 2013 data as the season continues. Let's see what it says about game one:
CPA Prediction Game 1: Braves 6 - Marlins 2. The CPA likes the Braves ability to work Slowey out of the game in the 5th or 6th, and get to the bullpen of the Marlins which is an unmitigated disaster. The total reverse is true of our team. The bullpen has been on fire, and we should get 6 solid innings out of Minor with 2 runs or less if he has command of the zone.