I'm late on getting the preview done (doctor's appointments today and the AC in my condo went out) so I'm low on early witty banter. The Phillies are awful. We shouldn't lose this series. No excuses. On to the matchups:
Game 1 - Teheran (9-5) v. Hamels (4-13)
Game 2 - Medlen (9-10) v. Martin (1-1)
Game 3 - Beachy (1-0) v. Lannan (3-5)
Notice anything about the Phillies pitching records? Nobody is over .500, and the closest is a guy they had to start because of injuries in August. In Game 1, Teheran goes against Cole Hamels, a pitcher who has been mostly trouble for Atlanta historically. I say historically because this year we've faced him once and roughed him up for 5 runs on the way to a 7 run Braves win. However, despite the recent success, it's a case of haves and have nots with the Braves lineup against Hamels. If you're CJ, Bmac, Justin or Freeman? You're blasting this guy. If you're Uggla, BJ, or Heyward? You're not really feeling good about this matchup. Simmons has only a single hit, but he got it in 3 tries this year, so he warrants some more looks before drawing any conclusions. Overall though, you want the Braves to have the hot hands up when runners are on against Cole. If you're Teheran, you're facing most of the Phillies lineup for the first time, and he's been very solid in those occasions. I like the Braves chances here if they can make Cole nervous with the big 4 hitters.
Medlen needs more runs. It's never going to be enough, but I would like to see him continue this hot streak of 3 wins in a row. That means he'll need the support, because he's pitching good enough to get a fourth win, but he's also received an average of 6 runs per game in that streak. That never hurts. Against the Phillies, he'll need even more help since they have clubbed him to a fine pulp in the past. A .333 team average in 84 ABs isn't good. It's even worse when you have a 1.000+ OPS in that stretch. Medlen has gone against the Phillies 3 times this season and come up on the losing end twice with an ERA of 6.61. That means even the 6 runs of support he got in this streak wouldn't be enough. He'll have to get the ball down and stop flying open on his pitches in order to keep the Phillies lineup at bay. The good news is that he's facing off against Ethan Martin, a guy the Braves destroyed for 6 runs in 4.1 innings. If Martin can't shake that off, he'll be in for a long day in Turner Field with the way these Braves are hitting.
Beachy was about as dominant as he could be coming off surgery. An 8 inning shutout against the Marlins in his last outing was an exclamation point on his MLB readiness declaration. Now granted, the Marlins could barely score off the kids at the Little League World Series, but it's still a nice confidence boost for Beachy. Now, he'll face the next step up from the Marlins in terms of hitters. The Phillies are mostly overpaid old wankers, but they can still occasionally knock a ball out of the park if you aren't paying attention. With the exception of Carlos Ruiz, Beachy isn't scared of anybody in this lineup, and he should just try to go after them if the Braves can grab a quick lead. That shouldn't be a huge problem with John Lannan pitching, because the team average off him is a hearty .293 with a slugging over .400. The key to this game will be minimizing the damage from any hits the Phillies collect, because their RISP hitting is still a dangerous .254 on the season, 5th in the NL. However, their overall run production is 11th, meaning they don't get a bunch of chances. That will be the thing to watch in this game, if Beachy can keep the Phillies from getting to 2nd base.
The CPA predicted another sweep, and collected only 2 of the 3 on the weekend series. That means its moves to 62-39 on the year. Now it takes a look at Game 1 between Teheran and Hamels.
CPA Prediction Game 1: Braves 4 - Phillies 2
The CPA believes that Teheran holds a large advantage on the Phillies who don't have a lot of experience against his arm. Plus, the Braves have roughed up Hamels once already this season, and he's in the midst of completely giving up on his team supporting him (as the 5-13 record indicates). Smash em early, smash em hard.