Monday, June 10, 2013

Series Preview: Padres

The Padres are a mediocre baseball team. They are 5-5 in their last 10, 29-34 on the season, and 16-14 at home. Nothing they do is special. They are middle of the MLB in runs, middle in average, slightly below average in ERA, and slightly above average in fielding. They are the blah ice cream you see in the grocery store that comes in the generic cartons that just say "Vanilla" on it. That being said, even vanilla has its days. On to the matchups.

Game 1 - Teheran (4-2) v. Marquis (7-2)
Game 2 - Hudson (4-5) v. Cashner (4-3)
Game 3 - Maholm (7-4) v. Volquez (4-5)

So you can see from the starting pitchers that we're getting a lot of matchups between people with decision success. Why the are the Padres below .500? Glad you asked. The answer is that their starters have a combined 5+ ERA. You don't really want to get into the SD bullpen, you want to rough up the starting pitchers early. That's not exactly a successful plan for the Braves on the road, since early runs have been tough to come by. However, with Teheran on the mound, he's been the recipient of some of the highest run support on the team (along with Minor). He'll need it against Marquis, a guy that actually pitched for Atlanta back in 2000-2003. Marquis' home ERA is 3.89 with a WHIP over 1.40, but he's averaged more than 5 runs of support every start for his last 5 games. Teheran hasn't been getting those kinds of numbers in his last 5 from the offense, averaging just under 3 per game, after averaging near 6 per game in his first 5. Luckily, Teheran has been ratcheting down his ERA from 5+ to 3.30 on the season currently. This is a battle of who gets the support in my mind, and the Braves have ample experience against Marquis, while the Padres have never seen Julio. Advantage Julio, and advantage Braves.

Hudson could use a win. He got absolutely screwed in his last outing by the Braves bats getting shut out. Now, he's looking to rebound against a team he owns in his career. In his last 5 matchups with the Padres, Hudson has a 3-0 record and a 0.87 ERA. He's been red hot. Meanwhile, Andrew Cashner for the Padres has been moved into the starting role this season after SD struggled with some early pitching issues. He's never been a true starter until this season. He's been decent, but he's also given up at least 3 earned runs in each of his last 5 starts. He's faced the Braves for a grand total of 0.1 inning in the last 3 years, and he gave up a hit, 2 walks, and 3 runs. That's an ERA of 81.00 for you keeping track. Will we score 81 runs in this game? Unlikely, but we certainly hold a historical advantage with Huddy on the hill.

Maholm is red hot right now. Despite not getting the needed runs in LA, Maholm hasn't lost a decision since May 11th. He's averaging only 2 earned runs in his last 5 starts. Historically, he keeps the SD lineup in the ballpark, with only 2 homers in 84 ABs. That could be large, considering that a lot of his earned run damage lately is coming off the bomb. The Braves look at a guy like Volquez, who used to be a fixture with the Cincinnati Reds, as a guy to feast on. He had 1 start against the Braves in 2012, and they ripped him up for 6 runs on 7 hits in only 3.2 innings. That's exactly the kind of early jump the Braves will need to take over these games, and it's something we as fans all love to see, because the Braves are 20th in the MLB in scoring for the first 4 innings. Striking first has also been a boon to our winning percentage, so we need to jump on Volquez quick.

The CPA (31-20) won the Saturday pick, and didn't have a pick for the Sunday game due to travel. Tonight's matchup should be interesting if Teheran can continue to hold form from his last (almost no-hitter) start.

CPA Prediction Game 1: Braves 4 - Padres 2

The bats woke up on west coast time yesterday, and they've enjoyed a lot of success against Marquis in the past. Meanwhile Teheran couldn't be pitching better right now. You know he won't likely come out there with another shutout bid, but he's been progressively improving in his road starts, all he needs is the runs.

GO BRAVES!

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