Monday, July 22, 2013

Series Preview: Mets in NY

The Mets have won 7 of their last 10. Sounds impressive doesn't it? They swept SF, took a game from the Pirates, and won two against the Phillies with a kicker win off the Brewers. The only winning team in that mix was the Pirates, and they lost the series. I'm not impressed. They roughed up bad teams on an easy part of the schedule. But who cares? Since when has another team's record meant anything in a Braves road game? From top to bottom we can win or lose against anybody. Nothing is sacred. No cow is left untouched. On to the matchups:

Game 1 - Gee (7-7) v. Teheran (7-5)
Game 2 - Torres (0-1) v. Medlen (6-9)
Game 3 - Hefner (4-7) v. Hudson (7-7)
Game 4 - Wheeler (3-1) v. Maholm (9-9)

I'd say of the games that look the most winnable on paper, Game 1 stands out. Teheran gave up only a single run to the Mets in his only outing against them, but the Braves lost the game 2-4 because the pen couldn't keep it together. The biggest problem for Teheran was Lucas Duda, who just happens to be on the DL. That opens up the lineup for Teheran to work his magic. Dillon Gee doesn't like facing the Braves, and I hope Heyward can get in this game, because he's been brutal to Gee in the past. With an 8-19 mark against Gee, Heyward joins CJ as the two guys who have .400+ averages against the righty. This meets the 2 of the 3 marks I like to see in a road game. Maholm and Hudson aren't pitching, and the Braves are facing a guy they've seen before. Toss in an early homer, and the Braves are in business.

Hey look it's Carlos Torres, a converted bullpen guy making a start because Shaun Marcum is out for the season. That's good news right? Maybe. We've at least had a few ABs against Torres as a team. The bad news is that none of them were very good. With a 3/22 (.136) average for the lineup, none of the Braves have a single RBI. Yeah. Well, at the very least it can't get a lot worse unless we're no-hit. I'll just get the no-hitter jinx out of the way early by saying no-hitter now. Medlen holds a similarly low BAA of .208 against the Mets. This game could come down to the first run, because both pitchers have great records against the other team. If that's the case, I'm nervous for Medlen, because he doesn't get out of the first two innings very well. In fact, he has a 5.68 ERA in those innings combined. Better score in the top of the first, Braves.

Hudson against Hefner. No, not Hugh. I think that would be a much more fun game to watch though. We could have the Playmate of the Year toss out the first pitch. Maybe replace bat boys with bat bunnies? See Mets? I just raised your attendance. If you're gonna get out of this Madoff hole, you gotta get creative. Instead it's Jeremy Hefner. Freeman, McCann, and Uggla have smacked him around like he owed them money. Those big hitters combined hold a .474 average with 2 homers by Freddie. I want to see them show up large because Huddy is on the mound. Shockingly, despite the fact Hudson has a 5.00+ road ERA, he's won his last 2 road games in a row. 19 total runs of support might have something to do with that. Just guessing there. He better give those big 3 hitter a big pep-talk before the game, because he'll need the help to sop up damage.

Game 4 is a day game I may not even bother turning on. This has white flag written all over it if Maholm actually starts. I'm hoping he doesn't. Wheeler has faced the Braves in only 19 ABs, and they were all terrible for the Braves hitters. Maholm has faced the Mets for 117 ABs, and a .282 average. Couple that with the fact that Maholm hasn't won a road game since June 23rd, over a month ago, and I really hope he goes on the DL for his wrist. I'd feel more comfortable with Alex Wood in this scenario. That's saying something. What's even more terrifying is Wheeler hasn't lost in July with an ERA of 2.16. Do you want comfort in the fact we might win the game? You've come to the wrong place. This is a blog of brutal statistical truth. I don't candy asses here. As with anything, they don't play the game on paper, but we can't sugar coat the fact that Maholm has become one of our worst road liabilities, and our record in anchor day games of road trips is less than stellar (2-4).

So there you have it. The CPA went 1-2 over the weekend because while it predicted the 1-2 Braves record, it got the order wrong. Such is life. What about Game 1 of the Mets?

CPA Prediction Game 1: Braves 3 - Mets 2

If Duda was in this game, the stats would look different. But he's not. And that's an advantage to the Braves against Gee. A large one. Get after that elusive early homer for the Braves, and our victory is all but assured.

GO BRAVES!

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