Did the Braves win the series? No. Did they compete? Ehhhh, yeah in one game they did. In the other games, no. The worst part of watching this team in July is that they can't score. In fact, the second game of this series was dang near a no-hitter, but only because the official scorer changed an early hit to an error almost 5 innings later. Much to the ire of the entire Braves team. Luckily, AJ broke it up in the 8th so we didn't have to deal with that shame.
Home Julio was good enough to not lose. That's about all I can say with his outing since he gave up 2 runs and didn't even pitch a full 5 innings. But it was enough to keep the game tied and let the Braves coast along until the 8th inning, when unlikely hero Eury Perez won it with a 2-run single, 4-2. The second game was the aforementioned no-hit bid by Jon Lester, where the Braves literally mustered 2 hits in a 4-0 loss. The third game was just as offensively frustrating, but the real kicker was Shelby Miller getting completely screwed over by a Jace Peterson error that should be ended with an out at second base. Instead, all hands were safe and two runs later scored. With a 2-0 deficit, Shelby made a mistake to the Cubs Jorge Soler for a deep bomb to center. And yet, that was his only earned run. Once again, bad defense and no hitter cost Shelby what could have been a win. Instead, the Braves lost 4-1.
Now the Dodgers are in town, and they've been pretty good lately. To the tune of 7-3 in their last 10 games. So the Braves shouldn't expect any easy treatment just because they are at home. On to the matchups!
Game 1 - Wisler v. Beachy
Game 2 - Wood. v. Anderson
Game 3 - Teheran v. Bolsinger
The good news is that you'll notice the Braves don't face Greinke or Kershaw. The bad news is that the way we're hitting, who cares who we are facing? The Braves are 24th in runs in July, and averaging 3.13 runs a game this month. The major issue? The Braves ERA in July is 3.63. When you're a half a run a game to the bad in a month, it's not a surprise the Braves record is 7-8 in July. So what do they have to do? Simply put, score 4 runs a game, or give up one run less.
Wisler and Wood are both coming off losses in Colorado, and Teheran is coming off that win against the Cubs. I liked Wisler's start, even though he ended up losing in Colorado, simply because he only allowed 2 runs on 9 runners in 6 innings. He was getting in trouble, but managing to pitch out of it effectively. Wood was the exact opposite as he got into trouble and got shellacked for 7 runs on 12 runners in just under 6 innings. I look for Wood to bounce back at home, but he'll need the run support to do it. Why? Because he hasn't give up less than 4 runs in Turner Field since a game against Boston a month ago. Teheran just needs to improve on what he did in the last win and go deeper into the games. I don't need Julio getting bogged down with pitch counts really early and having to go to a bullpen that even a mother couldn't love.
On the Dodgers side, we get to see the return of Brandon Beachy, hometown hero and part-time runway model. Beachy's only have one game in his return this season, and he was pounded by the Brewers for 3 runs in 4 innings on the way to a loss. He'd love nothing more than to stage a triumphant return to the Ted in front of what used to be his home team. Next, is Brett Anderson, a dominant lefty who is flying under the radar for many baseball fans. You know Greinke and Kershaw, but did you know that Anderson has only given up 9 runs in his last 5 starts, and he's good strikeout stuff with 77 on the season, and only 28 walks. Given how the team is hitting lefty's expect Chris Johnson to get a start. Lastly, the Braves get Mike Bolsinger, the hard luck loser of the Dodgers. His 3.04 ERA would be good enough to win in most places, but the Dodgers have lost 4 of his last 6 starts mostly due to bullpen woes. So the key for the Braves will be to get him out of there early.
The second half starts with a bang! The CPA went 3-0 on the picks and now it looks to this series with the Dodgers. What will happen?
Game 1 - Braves by 1
Game 2 - Dodgers by 3
Game 3 - Dodgers by 2
Once again, the CPA thinks the Braves lose the series. They do believe the Braves will get Brandon Beachy in game one, but the rest have the potential to get ugly.
Right or wrong, the Braves just need to get the offense going. So what if Freddie's not here? We need Nicky to step up with his first bomb of the year. And it needs to happen in this series! I'm calling the shot NICK-BOMB AGAINST THE DODGERS!