The Braves don't have to travel far on this part of the road trip. They are just moving from LA to San Francisco for 4 games with the Giants. How does that look for us? Well the Giants have won 8 of their last 10, so we're catching them at just the wrong time. I know in four-gamers I always say you should try to split, but that might be ambitious. I'm shooting for weathering a storm. My goal here is not to get swept, and everything else is gravy.
Game 1 - Miller v. Heston
Game 2 - Foltynewicz v. Hudson
Game 3 - Perez v. Lincecum
Game 4 - Teheran v. Bumgarner
Shelby Miller dominates all that he surveys. But this will be his toughest test, as San Francisco is swinging a bunch of red-hot bats. How red-hot? Try 3rd in the MLB in runs over the last week with 51. The Braves scored 23 in that same stretch. That's less than half for you math majors out there. BUT they were playing the terrible Brewers and Rockies. So, with SF surging, how will Shelby fare? Based on prior years, probably fine. He's faced the Giants twice in the last three years and won both with a 1.46 ERA. Since his current ERA is about 1.50, that's pretty good news for me. Meanwhile, the Braves take on Chris Heston, a 27 year old righty with a 4.33 ERA, and only one year of experience prior to this one. The Braves have never seen Heston, so based on our previous rookie encounters that should be to our advantage. But if Shelby is right? You may get one or two hits max. We've seen it.
Mike Foltynewicz had a great start in his last game, getting his third win and going for almost 8 innings with one earned run. I'm looking for him to build off that start and really begin to establish a mound presence. He's got the stuff to be really nasty, he just has to have full command of the arsenal when facing good hitters like the Giants. His advantage will be that nobody on the Giants has seen him before. On the other side, Tim Hudson is really struggling for the Giants. We haven't seen Huddy since he left Atlanta, so expect some tears from Braves Country during this game. Good news for the Braves is that Huddy's ERA in May has been 6.00, and with the exception of one game against the Dodgers, he was giving up 3+ runs a start. I wouldn't mind a good duel between these two where the Giants pen gives away the game late and gives Huddy a no-decision. My guess is that Nick Markakis will have a good game since he's danced with Huddy to the tune of 4-of-5 in the box.
Williams Perez gets his third start after going 11 innings with only 2 earned runs in his first 2 starts. If he can put three in a row together, he'll officially be doing better than Julio Teheran, which is a shot at Julio more than anything. The key for Perez will be keeping the hits down, as he got himself in a ton of trouble in the game against the Dodgers, even though he was able to dance out of a couple bases-loaded jams. Tim Lincecum has been awful since 2012 with an ERA averaging in the top 4's. Yet, this year Tim looks like the Big Time Timmy Jim of old. With a 5-2 record and a 2.45 ERA to go with a 1.25 WHIP, Tim is a problem for the Braves hitters. Why? Because the only guy on the team with more than 2 ABs that's hitting better than .250 against him is Juan Uribe. That's not a good sign, especially since Perez hasn't been getting tons of run support anyway. We'd need another grinder affair where somebody gets lucky off Tim to get a win here. Or the Braves can confuse everyone again and score 6 off him. They've been doing that quite a bit. I'm looking for Uribe to help out in this game.
The final game has the potential of outright disaster. Madison Bumgarner has only lost one game since mid-April. Julio Teheran has given up a combined 14 runs in 2 of his last 4 starts, and 2 runs in the other 2 starts. Madison is steady as a rock, Julio is all-or-nothing. If good Julio shows up, this could be interesting since guys like Peterson, Gomes, Uribe, and CJ 2.0 all hit MadBum well. If bad Julio shows up, the team could be down by 5 before the 3rd inning. The key to this game will be all Julio all the time.
I should just call this section, Hey the Braves make my predictions look stupid! The machine went 0-3 in the last series, and down another -3.75 units, bringing us to 16-25 with -13.90 units. Enough bad news, more picks!
Game 1: Braves by 1
Game 2: Braves by 1
Game 3: Giants by 2
Game 4: Giants by 2
The machine likes a split. I'll take that. But then again the machine has been all over the place, so who knows! We had a good thing going until LA, so maybe SF is the tonic it needs to right the ship.