Chipper gets his number retired tonight. The Braves alumni are all in attendance. The fans will be there in droves. Oh, and we're going to play some baseball! What could be better? On to the matchups.
Game 1 - Teheran (5-4) v. Delgado (0-1)
Game 2 - Hudson (4-7) v. Kennedy (3-4)
Game 3 - Maholm (8-6) v. Cahill (3-9)
Game 1 should be the most interesting matchup. You have the current young phenom against the guy the Braves unloaded in the Justin Upton trade. The bad news is that since Randall Delgado pitched for the Braves most of his early career, the Braves haven't faced off against him. The good news is that they've seen his stuff on a day to day basis. I'm not sure if that's an advantage just looking at a guy as opposed to game experience. We'll find out tonight. Teheran faced the Dbacks once, and he got zero runs of support in a 2-0 loss. That's not to say that he pitched poorly though. He gave up 7 hits in 6 innings, but no walks. That's not bad, but it's not dominant either. The way the Braves hit with RISP, you have to hope that Teheran gets a few runs, because he's shut out teams twice in June. That's a good sign for the Braves.
Game 2 features two pitchers that are extremely frustrated with their hitters. Hudson has been getting nothing from the Braves in June. Just to give you an idea, Tim Hudson has a 1.82 ERA in June, and a 0-3 record. That doesn't sound real, does it. That's how awful the Braves have been when he takes the mound. The Braves have averaged just over 1 run a start for Tim in June, including 2 shutouts. Tim is about ready to explode. He's figured everything out just in time for the team to go into an offensive pouting session. Ian Kennedy doesn't know what to expect. Ian's had 5 games on the road in a row, and only won one of them. In games where Kennedy was dealing, he got next to nothing from the Dbacks. In games where he was getting lit up, the Dbacks suddenly showed up with big runs. His one win came off the Cubs when Arizona scored 12. His biggest loss was when he gave up 10 earned runs to the Cardinals, but the Dbacks scored 8 in the loss. Braves hitters absolutely feast off Kennedy, to the tune of a .305 team average. If he serves a few up, the Braves will make sure they leave Turner Field.
Game 3 is our lefty advantage over their righty that hasn't won a start since May. Maholm has trouble with a few Dback hitters, such as Bloomquist, Kubel, and Prado. Cahill has problems with anybody left handed in the lineup. Cahill also has an ERA that's over 9.00 in June, while Maholm at a smooth 3.77 during the month. I'm wary of these huge advantage anchor games at this point, because for the Braves, when it's looked too good to be true it probably was. That being said, we have a pitching advantage in this matchup that's fairly sizable. You have to, have to, HAVE TO hit in this game though. Maholm won't be able to hold a team to just 1 run, especially given how many guys can really work him on counts. The Braves bats need to boom.
The CPA is in a slump again. I think it really hates road games just like the rest of us. How does it feel about the Braves at home though?
CPA Prediction Game 1: Braves 4 - Dbacks 2
The CPA believes the Braves get back on track today, especially with Chipper in the house to celebrate. The whole lineup having a good look at Delgado when he was with the team gives them more film for study, and more chances to formulate a good plan to rough him up. Go get em Bravos, make Chipper proud!