Monday, May 13, 2013

Series Preview: Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks are an odd team. Odd because they are the only team in the MLB with an above .500 record on the road, and a .500 or worse record at home. Odd because we have to face two of our old Atlanta mainstays (Hinske and Prado) from the other side of the field. Odd because their record and run totals look almost exactly like the Atlanta Braves. This is a matchup of very similarly built teams. Both Arizona and Atlanta thrive on the long ball (40+ for both teams on the season). Both have team slugging percentages in the top half of the NL. Both have team ERAs that are better than the league average. The biggest difference between the two clubs is that Arizona is the best defensive team in the field, having the #1 fielding percentage in all of baseball. Atlanta is 14th in fielding, committing 11 more errors than Arizona on the season so far.

Game 1: Minor (4-2) v. Miley (3-1)
Game 2: Teheran (2-0) v. Corbin (5-0)
Game 3: Hudson (4-2) v. Kennedy (1-3)

The first game should be the biggest toss-up. Minor looked great in Cincy with his 7 inning, 1 run performance. That was coming off of two losses against Detroit and the Mets. Wade Miley is coming off a close win against the Dodgers with his 7.2 inning, 2 run performance. That came off the heels of a 4 run drubbing in 5 innings against the lowly Padres. Miley's ERA is at 2.93, but his WHIP is at a rather high 1.35 on the season. Minor's ERA is a similar 2.96, but his WHIP is 0.90 for the year. Barring the Detroit disaster, Minor has yet to give up more than 3 runs in any start. The same can be said of Miley if you remove his bad SD game. These are two guys on a similar track to begin the year, and they are both lefties. In limited ABs (less than 50 by the lineup) Arizona is hitting .323 against Minor, and the Braves are hitting .444 against Miley. It could be a one sided disaster either way, it could be a pitchers duel down to the wire, or both guys could be knocked out by the 5th inning. There's simply no way to know what you'll get with this one.

Game 2 should be much more predictable. An undefeated pitcher is going to lose. That's a guarantee. Neither team has lost a game in either Teheran's or Corbin's starts. However, Corbin has a ridiculously low ERA of 1.75 for the 23 year old kid, while Teheran has been roughed up a few times for a 4.84 ERA. The lineups have never really seen either guy. If there is one game where I'm almost expecting the Braves to struggle, it's this one. I seriously doubt that our lineup can solve a guy they've never seen in the last series of a long road trip. The odds are just not there. Now, we might be shocked, but I wouldn't put money on it. On paper, this looks like a complete mismatch in favor of the Dbacks.

Game 3 pits two struggling vets against each other. Hudson has been struggling on the road with a 6.97 ERA and a 1-2 record. Kennedy has been struggling period with a 4.83 ERA and a WHIP over 1.30. Batters on the road are hitting Hudson for a .321 average. Batters are home are hitting Kennedy for a .280 average. My logic says there will be some hits in this game (durr), and quite a few of them at that. I think the winning team will have to score 5+ to put this one away. I just don't see how we'll get a pitchers duel on our hands unless these guys completely change their approach on the season. The Braves should angle to be patient as Kennedy has already walked 20 guys to his 37 Ks. Hudson has only walked 13 guys to his 35 Ks. The reason Hudson has been so beaten up is his location. Guys have been teeing off on anything up in the zone, but the Diamondbacks lineup has only hit .220 off Huddy lifetime. The Braves hitters have feasted on Kennedy for a .283 average with homers by McCann and BJ. We should take this game if Hudson can reel it back in for the final road game of the trip.

The CPA missed with the Braves prediction yesterday, going to 18-13. Now we look at game 1 to see if we can make sense of this similar matchup.

CPA Game 1 Prediction: Diamondbacks 6 - Braves 5

This is about as close as you can get to the CPA not having a clear winner. The CPA thinks this will be a high scoring slugfest with the Dbacks coming out on top due to home field. I would like to think if we put up 5 runs we'd win, but who knows. The CPA seems to believe that the Dimondbacks are going to rough up Minor with 3 starters that hit lefty pitching at a .900 OPS or better. I have no idea since both these starters are having such similar games, so I hope the calculations are a run off in the other direction.

GO BRAVES!

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