Monday, July 27, 2015

Braves lose series to Cardinals, head to Baltimore next

As expected, the Braves lost the series with the Cardinals. If you thought they had a chance at winning that series, you were crazy. The Cardinals are the best team in baseball, and the Braves are struggling to score runs with their best player on the bench. BUT WAIT! FREDDIE CAME BACK! And guess what happened? The day Freddie started, the Braves won their only game of the series. Coincidence? Nope. He's that important to the lineup.

The real disappointment in this series was game 2, when Shelby Miller pitched an absolute shut-out gem, only to have the Braves score absolutely nothing for him. Who has the lowest run support in all the majors? Cory Kluber of Cleveland with 2.52 runs a game. But Shelby is only 6 spots better at 87th in the league with 2.90 runs per game. And most of that came before July. In the month of July, Shelby's getting an average of 1 run per game. That's beyond insane. Cy Young would have trouble winning games with that kind of support.

Next up we have the Orioles for the middle portion of this long road trip. On to the matchups!

Game 1 - Wood v. Gausman
Game 2 - Teheran v. Jimenez
Game 3 - Banuelos v. Tillman

Now, if you know me at all, you know I hate interleague. I refuse to do huge breakdowns on interleague matchups unless the pitchers have faced our hitters in NL play before they went to the AL. In that regard, only Ubaldo Jimenez has really faced Braves hitters, so let's look at his successes and failures against Atlanta. Ubaldo faced Atlanta only once in the last 3 years, and it was in a 3-1 loss during 2013. However, he has faced the majority of the Braves lineup in his career, mostly with the Rockies, and he's been tattooed with a 1.000+ OPS. Most of that is Jonny Gomes ripping him a new one with 3 homers. So, I'd play Jonny in that game. Just saying.

As for the Orioles on the whole, the team isn't that great. They are in 3rd in their division, under .500 by a game, and they've lost 6 of their last 10. They are basically the AL version of the Braves right now, with a slightly better record. So as the Braves face this AL doppelganger, what do the Orioles do well? In a word, POWER. They Orioles rip the cover off the ball, and they have 120 homers on the season, which is good for 5th place in the majors. By comparison, the Braves have 59 homers. That's dead last in the majors. So, Braves pitching if you want to win this series? Keep it in the ballpark and you'll be fine.

What do the Orioles do poorly? Starting pitching. Their starters have a 4.24 combined ERA which is 20th in the MLB, while the Braves have a 3.82 ERA that's good enough for 10th. Basically it's strength on strength in this matchup until you get to the bullpens, where Baltimore has a huge advantage. Baltimore is one of the rare teams where you're better off trying to rough up their starter than getting into their pen, which is top 5 in the MLB. So jump on them early boys, you don't want to be trailing late against the Orioles.

CPA Predictions:

The CPA was right about the series going 1-2 for the Braves, but it got the games mixed up because it didn't have Freddie Freeman coming back early. As such it's 1-2 on the picks and 6-3 on the second half.

Game 1 - Braves by 3
Game 2 - Orioles by 2
Game 3 - Braves by 1

The CPA likes the Braves surprising people with a road series win. Beat up on those birds!


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