Guess what? The Braves are heading up to Philadelphia for a series, and you probably won't notice much given that it's a huge football weekend. However, if you get some time to check out the games, give them a look. We've got some good matchups on the horizon, so here we go.
Game 1 - Minor (13-5) v. Lee (11-6)
Game 2 - Wood (3-3) v. Kendrick (10-12)
Game 3 - Maholm (10-10) v. Hamels (6-13)
The marquee matchup happens right off the bat with Minor versus Lee. Both guys have blistering records heading into September, and both guys are well known for getting strikeouts. Minor has had some good luck against the Phillies lineup in terms of keeping them in the ball park, something he had trouble with against other teams, unless it's Ryan Howard. Howard is the one guy who consistently takes Minor deep with 3 homers in just 15 ABs. However, Ryan is out for the rest of the season with a knee problem. That's a big advantage to the Braves and Mike. Lee on the other hand has few problems with anybody in our lineup. The best you might get is a guy like Justin who has hit over .400 against him in 17 ABs, with 3 doubles. However, across the board the Braves hit less than .700 OPS off Lee, and their record against him this year is 1-2. Minor hasn't faced Philly at all this season, so that should be interesting.
Wood hasn't been stellar in his last game against Miami, but we can't hold that one game against him. Instead, we can look to see how he rebounds on the road with a full compliment of Braves behind him. He's started on the road against Philly once before and did very well, netting a 4-1 win. Given that their lineup has such limited looks at him, you like your chances when Wood goes into this game. He's going against Kyle Kendrick, a guy who has watched his ERA explode over 7.00 in the last month. And that's not playing against good teams. That's pitching against the Cubs, the Mets, the Nats, and the Rockies. I think from a pure numbers standpoint you have to like your chances in this matchup as the Braves, even with the young rookie on the mound.
Maholm on the road. Should I recap further? Ok, he's 4-8 on the road with an ERA over 6.00. More? Ok, he's given up a .288 BAA against the Phillies, and he's lost 4 road games in a row. I honestly don't know how we can win this game short of Hamels coming out there and wetting himself on the mound. However, that might actually happen. Hamels has been through a stretch where he couldn't win a game in a whole month. The reverse side of that is he hasn't lost a game now since August 12th, and he's been just on a ridiculous tear. It's the hot hand versus the road grease fire. Considering the game is on Sunday at 1:35, I suggest not watching and tuning into the NFL instead. I think you'll be pleased with the results.
CPA Prediction Game 1: Braves 3 - Phillies 2
CPA Prediction Game 2: Braves 5 - Phillies 3
CPA Prediction Game 3: Phillies 6 - Braves 1
The CPA agrees with my assessment. The Braves take the first two, and lose the last one when Maholm tips over. The first game is probably the most important, since it's the closest and most competitive. I think we really need to establish a lead, because playing from behind on the road isn't going to work well against a guy like Lee.