Friday, June 26, 2015

Swept by Nats, No Freddie, And now the Pirates

I don't even want to recap the series with the Nationals, so I'm not going to. Sufficed to say, it was horrible, and the worst part about it was that in the last game we didn't even make an effort to keep from getting swept. Nope, instead Fredi Gonzalez ran out a lineup that included both Johnsons, Ciriaco, and Peterson in the infield. I mean really? That's a give up lineup if I've ever seen one.

We got beat, but the worst part is this series exposes how badly we need Freddie Freeman in the lineup. And the news of his return is that it may not be until the All-Star break. Which is still two weeks away. That's a lot of losses that can pile up in the interim. I'm worried the team may get buried during that period, and that's a shame. Freddie got a platlet-rich injection in his wrist, whatever the hell that means, so he's probably healing faster maybe? Or it will give him night vision and the ability to fly? I'm not a doctor, so I don't know.

What I do know is that we have to win some games against the Pirates or we're going to look silly. MATCHUPS!

Game 1 - Perez v. Liriano
Game 2 - Teheran v. Morton
Game 3 - Wood v. Locke

I'll take this with our three starters first. Perez is dealing lately and he's probably one of the most consistent starters we have in the rotation next to Shelby Miller. Which is insane because the kid is a mid-year call up out of AAA. However, Perez did get knocked around by Pittsburgh for 4 runs in his last meeting with them, but the Braves lost the game 8-10 so it wasn't exactly his fault. Julio Teheran is amazing at home. Julio Teheran on the road is straight trash, homie. How bad? Try a 7.17 ERA and a .366 opponent average. If he doesn't get that on track, he'll get destroyed by the Pirates. Alex Wood is still confusing me, as he has 3 W's in a row, followed by 3 L's in a row for his record. He needs to rebound now, and he needs to stop giving up early runs that get him in a hole. The Braves aren't hitting well enough without Freddie to climb out of 3 run deficits.

Francisco Liriano for the Pirates didn't face the Braves in the last series, but he has been very steady with a 3.26 ERA that belies his 4-6 record. The key for Liriano is that he gets a ton of strikeouts, which is good against the more K-prone teams. But that's not Atlanta this year. That's Atlanta last year. This year you hope to make solid contact and get him out of the game early on. Next, the Braves face Charlie Morton who was on the opposing side of that 10-8 loss to the Pirates. The good news is that we got to Morton for 4 runs in that game. The bad news was the bullpen imploded. I think Morton is a guy the Braves can hit, but I know for a fact Julio is bad on the road. After that, Jeff Locke will close out the series, and he's a mess right now. 4.73 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP, he's the guy that the Braves beat in the lone win of the prior series. Get him again and you might take this one as the rubber game if Wood can hold on.

Other Key Players:

- Nick Markakis - Nicky has a .353 average against Liriano and a .500 average against Morton. We'll likely need him to get some key hits in the first two games.

- Kelly Johnson - As long as Freddie's out, Kelly's going to play somewhere, and I need him to continue what he did in the Washington series where he went 5/9 at the plate.

- Andrew McCutchen - The Braves have to find a way to get this killer Pirate out, and they can't let him come to the plate with RISP situations, because he's a destroyer right now slugging .519 in June.

CPA Predictions:

The CPA went 1-2 in the Nats series, which sucks but oh well. The series sucked. 25-37 now on the year, with only a small hope of ever getting back to .500. But it starts today!

Game 1 - Pirates by 2
Game 2 - Pirates by 5
Game 3 - Braves by 1

The CPA hates this series, and I don't blame it. The thing could come off the rails, but I'm hoping we salvage at least a game before coming home to face the Nats again. Keep your chins up Braves country!


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