Ohhhhhhh Caaannnnnaaaaddaaaaaaaaaa. We have to head up there for 2 games, then they come to Atlanta for 2 games. I'll present them differently as two different series, because the Braves home/road splits demand it. THEY DEMAND IT! Who am I to argue? I think in this kind of series, a 1-1 win split on the road is a good goal. On to the matchups.
Game 1: Hudson (4-3) v. Buehrle (1-3)
Game 2: Maholm (6-4) v. Morrow (2-3)
Well, it's Hudson on the road again. At this point, I'd almost be shocked if he pitched well away from Turner Field rather than the reverse. I don't know why, but he seems completely incapable of keeping the ball down in opposing parks. There's an easy way to tell if Hudson is going wrong early in a game. Look at how the hitters are making contact. Are they hitting sharp liners? Are they hitting fly balls in the first 2 innings? If that's the case, either disaster has already struck, or it's waiting in the wings with some pliers and a blowtorch. The saving grace in this matchup is that Buehrle (whose name could flunk an Indian kid in the national spelling bee) is all over the place. His last game against TB was a 7 inning 2 run win. His prior game against the Yankees was a 5 run explosion. His last 4 games have been bad-good-bad-good. The Braves are hoping for bad next.
Maholm has won two games in a row, both in the confines of Turner Field. It will be interesting to see if that pitching translates up north. Paul doesn't have a whole lot of middle gears in his outings. He's either flying along at top speed, or he's stalled out early and getting shelled. 3 of the last 4 have been top speed games and his ERA has settled at 3.38. Morrow for the Blue Jays has only been winning games because the team is scoring big runs. If Toronto scores less than 6 runs? They lost Morrow's start. As such, the Braves have to really concentrate more on their defense in this game than getting into a slugging contest. With a 5.50 ERA, Morrow can be had early on in the game. Toronto's bullpen is very middle of the road, so they aren't going to be able to bail out an already sinking ship if the Braves jump all over them.
The CPA lost along with the Braves last night with the bullpen failure, but will the Braves rebound with Hudson on the mound?
CPA Prediction Game 1: Blue Jays 6 - Braves 5
The CPA favors the Blue Jays slightly due to the home field advantage, and the fact the DH is going to be in play. Hudson's bad road ERA of 7.36 is the worst on the team, so he's been pretty awful when he leaves the city. Both of these pitchers are better than their ERA's, though. Anything could happen in a game with some pretty tightly matched lineups based on their home/road splits.