Well who's that in town? It's Jerk Johnson and his cadre of wall-bashing misfits. I guess life is a little harder when you're Werthless? Too bad for them, I suppose. I don't really feel sorry for anybody in this league, especially the defending division champs getting a bit of a reality check. Newsflash, repeating in the division is tough. The Braves just made it look easy for 14 years. On to the matchups:
Game 1 - Teheran (3-1) v. Strasburg (3-5)
Game 2 - Hudson (4-4) v. Gonzalez (3-3)
Game 3 - Maholm (6-4) v. Karns (0-0)
Game 1 tonight should be interesting. Teheran has been a good luck charm for the Braves, and Strasburg has been a whipping boy every time he's played Atlanta. The Braves have never lost a Teheran home start this season, and his ERA in Turner is a respectable 3.86. Strasburg has already gone 0-2 against Atlanta this season, and he's been struggling on the road all season. People around the league are saying Strasburg is back because he roughed up Philly in his last start. Have you seen Philly? It's like an old folks home with less performance enhancing drugs. I expect Uggla in the lineup since he's crushed Strasburg for an .826 slugging percentage, and I expect Heyward in there since he's hitting .500 in 14 ABs. I don't expect BJ in there because he's been terrible against Strasburg at a 1 for 8 clip, and I wouldn't mind Justin getting a day off either with his 1-11 hitting line. Evan Gattis would be a good choice to play left, put Heyward in RF, and Schafer at center. My ideal lineup? Schafer, Simmons, McCann, Freeman, CJ, Gattis, Heyward, Uggla, Teheran, in that order.
Game 2 will be about two pitching vets trying to find the handle again. There was a chalk outline where Gio Gonzalez was pitching last time he came to Turner Field. Gio's holding a 4.82 road ERA and a WHIP around 1.25. Huddy at home is completely different than the mess on the road. Huddy in his home starts is 3-0 with a 2.97 ERA. We want that Huddy in the second game. The good Huddy. As for hitting Gio, the Braves will probably favor a lineup that includes CJ and Simmons. Both have been hitting .400+ off the lefty. Hudson has to watch out for Ian Desmond, but he likely won't have to face the biggest past problem, which is Werth. That's a big bonus for the Braves.
Game 3 features Maholm who has won his last 3 starts versus some rookie who's pitched 3 games in the majors. Trying to put a preview on this is pretty pointless. Karns is like one of those guys that gives the Braves trouble because we've never seen him before. We have a really bad history against guys like that with high ERAs. For some reason we make them look like world-beaters in the first go around. I'd like to hope it doesn't go that way, but there are no real numbers to base that assumption on either way. What I do know is that Maholm has two games in 2013 against the Nats, and he has a 1.15 ERA. You give him 5 runs? We win.
The CPA is 27-17 on the season, and it predicted the squeeker that wasn't last night. A win's a win though. What about Game 1 of this series?
CPA Prediction Game 1: Braves 5 - Nats 3
The CPA likes the Braves hitting against Strasburg lifetime, and their overall home record. It also likes that the Nats are on a 2 game road losing streak. Put it all together and you have a good chance of the Braves walking off winners tonight.