Welcome back Braves. I remember what it was like to watch a home game last month. Maybe we'll get to see some wins, too. Wouldn't that be nice?
Game 1: Maholm (4-4) v. Ryu (4-2)
Game 2: Medlen (1-5) v. Capuano (1-2)
Game 3: Minor (5-2) v. Magill (0-0)
The first tilt brings another lefty on lefty matchup. Also, isn't Ryu a character from the Street Fighter games? That's the first thing that popped into my mind. Anyway, Maholm was nothing short of awful in his last appearance in SF, and Ryu was nothing short of dazzling in his last appearance in against Miami. The thing is, who hasn't dazzled against Miami? It's like patented "get right" juice for pitchers. The more relevant number for me is how Ryu pitched against SF, and he got roughed up just as bad as Maholm. I think these guys are on pretty even footing. You have two lefties with ERAs in the 3s, identical WHIP around 1.20, and guys that have dramatic home/road splits. Paul has held down a sub-2 ERA at home, and close to 5 on the road. That's the same for Ryu. Having that home field advantage should be huge for the Braves in this game.
The second matchup features two guys who are not living up to their potential this season. Capuano was a 12-12 guy last season with a respectable 3.72 ERA. Medlen was a blistering 10-1 with a 1.57 ERA in last year's shortened start season. Now? You have two guys who've won one game a piece in several starts. Capuano has an ERA at 6.60 with an opposing average of .317 and a WHIP of 1.73 in 5 appearances. That's not just bad, that's how the heck are you still pitching in the majors bad. Medlen at least has an ERA at 3.44, but his WHIP is 1.41 and he's notched 5 losses already on the season in 8 starts. He's gone from a killer to a below average hurler this year. However, in a matchup with two guys that are struggling, I trust Medlen's pitch command a lot more than Capuano, and that's an advantage for the Braves.
The last game features our most consistent pitcher against an untested rookie brought in to replace Greinke on his DL stint. Minor has been the biggest surprise since the latter half of 2012, and he's carried that attitude into 2013 with very solid starts. He's coming off two wins in a row where he only gave up a single run in each game. Magill is so new that he doesn't even have a team photo on ESPN. He's started 3 games, has no decisions, and sports a 6.92 ERA. The Dodgers have lost every game he's started. The Braves have won two of the last three Minor starts, but they haven't supported him well in his home games. In fact, Minor lost a game to KC at home where he gave up just one run, while the Braves got skunked. One would think that if you give Minor a few runs, he can run away with this game.
Very rarely do I see potential for a series sweep on paper, but this series sets up that way. What does the CPA (19-14) think about game 1?
CPA Prediction Game 1: Braves 6 - Dodgers 2
The CPA believes this is a rout in favor of the Braves. Maholm has been great at home in terms of ERA, and Ryu has been bad on the road against tough opponents. Toss in a bad Dodgers bullpen, a bunch of hitters that aren't hitting home runs on the Dodger lineup? The Braves have a large advantage in this matchup.