We just played these guys and dropped 2 of 3 in rain-soaked games at home. The weather won't be a factor with the retractable roof down in Miami, so the Marlins will have to play the Braves in ideal conditions. The last time that happened, we swept them. On to the matchups:
Game 1 - Minor (8-4) v. Slowey (3-6)
Game 2 - Teheran (6-4) v. Alvarez (0-0)
Game 3 - Maholm (9-7) v. Turner (2-1)
Minor has lost 3 games in a row, and they've been his fault. The most recent was a loss to Miami where he couldn't keep the ball in the park, and he couldn't keep people off base. He's gone 6 innings in his last 6 games in a row, but he's given up 5 homers in his last 3 games. In addition to that, his WHIP has skyrocketed in that time frame from being well under 1.00 to 1.61 in his last 3 losses. That's a number that will cause you to lose 4 times out of 5, unless your offense is firing off 8 runs a game. The Marlins Kevin Slowey got demolished in his match against the Braves last week when they went off for 11 runs. CJ, BMac, and Justin ripped him to shreds, and after this weekend I know they will be looking for more.
Teheran hasn't lost back to back games in over a month. The bad news is he hasn't won back to back games in over a month either. The good news this time is that he lost his last match against Miami, and he knows how to pitch against their lineup now. The Braves will face off against Henderson Alvarez, who beat them 4-3 in his last start. The Braves now have a better look and a better plan against the pitcher they hadn't seen up to that point. If you remember that game, it was the one where the Braves scored 3 runs in the first inning, and then the weather seemed to dull the bats for the rest of the day. I don't expect that to happen again. In fact, I think they will be able to light him up given a second chance.
Maholm hasn't pitched well over the last month, but the Braves have usually outpaced his ERA with run support. Paul has been the rare beneficiary of almost 4.5 runs a game for the Braves, something very few other pitchers on the team can claim. He doesn't need that many runs if he can negotiate the Marlins rather inept hitting lineup. With a .236 lineup average against Maholm, the Marlins haven't done well off of him lifetime. The downside of this matchup is Jacob Turner, a young kid that only half the lineup saw last year, and he's pitching with a 2.30 ERA on the season thus far. He'll be a tough matchup for a few of the Braves hitters, other than Simmons who didn't seem to have trouble going 2/3 off him in 2012.
The CPA (43-30) looks at the Minor v. Slowey matchup to see if the Braves have an advantage
CPA Prediction Game 1: Braves 5 - Marlins 4
This could be a back and forth affair if both pitchers can't get the ball down in the zone. Both lineups can rip a high pitch, and both pitchers have been known to hang a few in their last 5 games. The long ball could make the difference in this matchup, and that favors the Braves.