Monday, May 20, 2013

Series Preview: Twins

Get ready for some more home baseball, AND TWINNNNNS! Anybody remember that beer commercial? Good times. On to the matchups.

Game 1: Teheran (2-1) v. Correia (4-3)
Game 2: Hudson (4-3) v. Pelfrey (3-4)
Game 3: Maholm (5-4) v. Worley (1-4)

With the exception of Correia, most of the starting pitchers for the Twins are having an awful season. That's what makes this first game so important, because it sets the table for a series win if you can get past their de-facto Ace. This matchup pits youth versus experience with rookie Teheran and Correia the 10 year veteran. That veteran presence may not matter much against this Braves lineup though, since 5 of our starters are hitting a combined .300+ average against him with 2 bombs and 10 doubles. Correia's road ERA is 5.00+, while Teheran was very comfortable at home in his 2 run last start against the Nationals. It's a tough matchup because Teheran can get squirrelly with his high WHIP, but you have to rely on the offense to produce for you in this kind of game.

Hudson is a completely different pitcher at home. With a 2.84 ERA and a .183 opposing average, it's no shock that the Braves are unbeaten in Turner Field when Tim starts. That's what makes his road statistics such a departure from the Hudson we know and love. However, now that he's on friendly ground, I expect him to drop a few sinkers off the table while the Twins hitters struggle. He faces Mike Pelfrey, who should sound familiar to a lot of you. Pelfrey used to be a Mets starter before he signed to the Twins after Tommy John surgery. His road games have been nothing short of a dumpster fire, with a 7.43 ERA in 3 starts. Now against tough teams, I'd at least say he got roughed up by good hitters. While that's true of a team like Detroit, he also got ripped apart by KC and the Marlins. Anybody that gives up 5 runs to the fish had a bad day. If our lineup gets going, we can show him an early exit. Get four runs to Huddy and you know what happens.

The anchor game is about as lopsided as you can get. Worley has no winning decisions on the road, and the Twins haven't won one of his road starts in a month. Maholm has a 1.83 home ERA, and he's only lost one home start because the Braves didn't score a single run. Considering that Worley has an astronomical WHIP of 1.89, the Braves shouldn't have trouble getting on base. Couple in that fact that the Twins are hitting for a sub .700 OPS against lefties, and you have the stage set for what should biggest daytime payoff since the Showcase Showdown. Here's the thing, though. The Twins bullpen is 4th in the AL, so the Braves have to strike hard at the weak starting rotation. Grinding out low scoring games, or getting behind early won't be a recipe for success in this series.

The CPA (22-14) predicted a sweep and got it right, so it looks to see how the Braves compare to the slumping lineup of the Twins. Here's the analysis of game one.

CPA Prediction Game 1: Braves 5 - Twins 2

Teheran hasn't had many games at home, nor has he ever faced the Twins hitters. The Braves have an .879 OPS against Correia in the starting lineup, and they are coming off a 3 game winning streak full of comebacks. I'd say that due to the Twins 5 game losing streak, they aren't as confident. The CPA expects Correia to be gone by the 6th inning, and the Braves to be in a solid lead. We'll see how that plays out.


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