We need some wins. This losing streak nonsense is for the birds. There's no better team to get right against than the Marlins, so I want to at least get 2 games out of this road trip 4 game series. On to the matchups!
Game 1 - Medlen (12-12) v. Alvarez (3-3)
Game 2 - Teheran (11-7) v. Koehler (3-9)
Game 3 - Minor (13-6) v. Fernandez (11-6)
Game 4 - Wood (3-3) v. Eovaldi (3-6)
Medlen wants to win another game so he can get his record up above 50/50. He's been one of the few Braves pitchers that's been on a winning streak of late, winning his last 2 matchups against the Mets and the Indians. Right now, Kris has his ERA under 3.50, and his WHIP is sitting at a respectable 1.28 on the season. However, on the road, Kris has seen his ERA go up to 4.23, and the opposing BAA hit .258. That's cause for concern against most teams. It's less worrysome against a Miami team that scores the lowest run totals of anyone in baseball. Alvarez has major problems (.293 BAA) with the Braves, so this sets up well for us as the Marlins are 1-2 in his starts against Atlanta this season.
Teheran needs a good game. He's been hot and cold in alternating starts, so I'd like to see him stay hot off a win against the Marlins last week where he only allowed one run. He's dominated the fish this season in 3 starts with a 2.41 ERA and a 2-0 record. Opposing him will be Tom Koehler, who earned a no decision in his one appearance against the Braves, but the Marlins went on to lose the game 11-3. So, on paper this sets up as a complete mismatch in favor of the Braves. That means we'll have to ramp up the hitting a bit to get Julio on the right track, and Koehler has been known to really labor after pitch #30 to hitters. That means as we get into the 3rd inning, look out!
Minor always seems to draw the best pitcher the opposing team has to offer. In this case, the one bright, shining light in the Marlins organization is Jose Fernandez. He's not just good, he's probably one of the top pitchers in the NL right now. Not only does he have an 11-6 record on a ballclub that has only won 53 games, but he also has a 2.23 season ERA, a WHIP of 0.97, and 182 Ks. He's an artist out there. The Marlins have only lost 2 of his last 10 starts, once to the Pirates, and once to your Atlanta Braves. Fernandez actually dominated most of the Braves lineup in that start, except for Freddie Freeman and Elliot Johnson who put the team on their shoulders. Minor has been slacking of late, with an ERA of 4.71 in August, but he rebounded against the Phillies allowed just those 2 runs in 7 innings. He didn't get any support to bail him out though. He likely won't see a ton against a Marlins Ace, either. It'll be a battle to see who blinks first on this game.
Wood needs to rebound. He's had two bad outings in a row, and one of them was the 7 run shellacking by Miami. He has to get that bad taste out of his mouth if he wants to get on track for October and earn the chance to start. The problem lately is that he's just leaving too many pitches in the middle of the plate, and the hitters are lacing hits to all parts of the field. The Marlins don't usually rough anybody up, so he mentally needs to put that aside and go dominate with the same stuff he was throwing in August. Meanwhile, Eovaldi was the beneficiary of that last Wood implosion, and the only win he'd had in weeks. He's not a good pitcher, and yet he's beaten Atlanta twice in a row. He's got our number for some reason, and the Braves at some point those numbers have to come back to the mean. However, in two games so far, Eovaldi hasn't allowed a Braves run. That cannot stand.
Tonight the CPA (70-50) looks at the first game of the Marlins series with Medlen and Alvarez. My feeling is that Medlen dominates. Does the CPA agree?
CPA Prediction Game 1: Braves 5 - Marlins 2
Yes, the CPA thinks Medlen cruises in this game and the Braves turn on the offensive spigot again. The key in this game will be Freddie Freeman and the Johnson boys. They all have owned Henderson Alvarez with a combined 7/17 and a bomb. Make it happen boys!