The Giants slowly started falling apart when nobody was looking. The team that was a sure-fire NL West champion contender has been stricken with a band of walking wounded. Guys like Sandoval, Scutero, Pagan, and Vogelsong have all come up lame for this series. That means the Giants are going to have to rely on a few backups to make hay if they want to stay above .500 in this stretch. Guy like Brandon Crawford, Joaquin Arias, and Tony Abreu will have to step up. No matter what happens though, they still have Pence and Posey waiting to ruin your day. On to the matchups:
Game 1: Bumgarner (5-4) v. Medlen (3-6)
Game 2: Gaudin (2-1) v. Minor (8-2)
Game 3: Lincecum (4-6) v. Teheran (4-3)
Welcome back to Turner Field. Hopefully the hitting picks up in the friendly confines of Fulton County. The first game is going to be the toughest one for the Braves from a pitching standpoint. Bumgarner is posting a strong 3.58 ERA with a winning record, but he's been slipping in his last 3 games giving up a combined 12 runs with a 1-2 record. Bumgarner's road ERA has moved over 4 on the year, and his K/BB rate drops to 3-1 from 4-1 at home. That's still very solid, no matter what. Braves will have to guard the plate from whiffs if they want to get out of this one alive. In the other corner, Medlen is coming off 2 straight wins having given up no earned runs. He's been much better since he got rocked in SF for 5 runs, although 2 was unearned. Scutaro and Sandoval did a ton of damage off Kris in the past, but they don't get to play this time around. Advantage Medlen. This game will be about the Braves offense finally getting right. Justin Upton and Jason Heyward need to be huge in this game, because they hit Bumgarner well. We need some dingers to make this a first game win.
Game 2 features Vogelsong's replacement, Chad Gaudin versus our de-facto ace Mike Minor. Who would have thought that? Not me. The Braves have luckily faced Gaudin for 3 innings so far this year, so they have some looks and some film on him. When the Braves haven't seen a guy before, it's well documented how that goes against us. Gaudin is pitching WAY over his head in the first two starts against the Cards and Dbacks, getting 2 wins and holding a 2.32 ERA. The Braves have won 7 games in a row with Mike Minor on the mound, though. Need I say more? The key guys in this match will be Uggla, Heyward, and Freeman, all who have .300+ averages off Gaudin in limited looks. The guys that should get a day off? Both Uptons. If Justin and BJ play in this game, I'll be upset with Fredi, because he will be ignoring their combined 3 for 28 lifetime record off Chad. That's enough experience for me to know I don't want a guy in a lineup for a certain starter. Couple the fact they are both in horrid slumps? No way I'd start either one. I'd much rather roll the dice with Schafer and Gattis in this matchup.
Game 3 pits the Freaky Franchise against the Columbian Kid. Linecum absolutely shut the door on the Braves in SF, posting a 7 inning shutout in May. Teheran got the only win in SF with his solid performance of 7 innings, 3 runs, no walks. However, both have fallen on hard times in the win department, having lost 3 of their last 4 starts. In games like this, it's hard to find an edge. In that regard, I think Teheran gets the nod due to his 3.62 season ERA and 1.19 WHIP advantage over the 4.70 ERA and 1.42 WHIP of Timmy Jim. Also, the Giants aren't very good on the road with a 13-20 away record, while the Braves have the best home record (21-7) in the league.
The CPA lost the last game of the Padres series since we were swept in 3 games. Can it recover in game 1 tonight?
CPA Prediction Game 1: Braves 5 - Giants 3
Make no mistake, the Giants lineup can hit Kris Medlen in SF. The question is can they hit him at home when he's in the midst of a hot streak. Similarly, Bumgarner has dominated hitters in SF, but has looked very ordinary in his road outings. The CPA like the mismatch in the home/road splits for the Braves, and the higher run average for the Braves inside Turner Field.