So for you doubters and haters the Braves actually beat the Nationals in the series, not just one game. Don't you feel silly. I've been warning you not to jump off the bandwagon or listen to the so-called experts who are telling you this team is about to shoot itself in the foot. This team has young talent and depth, and the one thing they need is for Freddie Freeman to get healthy and take advantage of a really light schedule up to the AllStar break.
The first game featured another Shelby Miller outing where he got no run support. But he also really blew it early by allowing 4 runs in the first inning. You can't do that with a Braves team that's struggling to score. So that game was a complete mess. Game two turned into the Wisler show as the young kid went 5.1 innings giving up 1 hit and no runs. AJ Pierzynski homered for 2 runs, Uribe went back to back for another, and Wisler helped himself with an RBI. Braves won that one handily. Game 3 had Simmons plate Uribe mid-way through a pitcher's duel beween Scherzer and Banuelos, but the first time MLB starter Banuelos ended up getting the best of Scherzer in the end. In the bottom of the 9th, Cameron Maybin knocked in Ciriaco in a walk-off single to win 2-1 against the former Cy Young winner. HUGE win there.
MATCHUPS FOR THE PHILLES!
Game 1 - Teheran v. Morgan
Game 2 - Wood v. Correia
Game 3 - Miller v. Hamels
Remember Road Julio and his crappy exploits? Well this is home Julio, and home Julio shoots lightning bolts from his eyes and firebolts from his arse. At home, Julio has a 4-0 record with a 2.35 ERA and a .173 opponent average. I don't even want to give you his road stats because they give me the sads. He'll face a newbie named Adam Morgan who is a 25 year old guy out of AAA from the Phillies. Oddly, his stats at AAA suck. He's 0-6 with a 4.74 ERA at the lower level, so I have no idea if the Braves will pull their usual "OH CRAP HE'S NEW LET'S BE TERRIBLE" at the plate, or if they'll rock his socks off. Either way, if Julio is on, the Phils are in a world of hurt.
And let's be fair, the Phillies are the worst team in baseball by record. The Braves should destroy this team for a series win minimum. A sweep would be great. In game 2, Alex Wood faces off against Kevin Correia. The Phillies signed Correia on June 5th, presumably because they sent the rest of their starters to the gallows. Correia has pitched 4 games this season, and he's supremely average. 0-2 record with a 3.60 ERA and a huge 1.65 WHIP. With that many runners, the Braves should be able to capitalize. However, Alex Wood has been oddly terrible at home, almost like a reverse Julio. Wood is 0-3 with a 5.00 ERA and a .310 opponents average in Turner Field. Most starters are better inside their friendly confines. Not Alex. He'll need to get that on track against a bad Phillies team.
Game 3 is Shelby Miller against Cole Hamels, the marquee matchup. Shelby has been getting no run support at home, Hamels can't seem to function on the road. Miller is 2-3 at home with a 2.22 ERA and .232 average. Hamels is 3-4 on the road with a 4.13 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. This will be a battle of which guy is defying their splits. Will Shelby ever get some runs? Will Hamels dominate a lineup he's had good luck against? That's why they play the games.
Other Key Players:
Cameron Maybin - if there's one guy who blows up Hamels, it's Maybin with a .938 OPS lifetime against Cole and 4 doubles.
Andrelton Simmons - Simmons has had some very average luck at the plate in terms of power, obviously trying to cut down on the swing and get things in play. I'm loathe to call for it, but in non-RISP situations I'd like for Simmons to try and drive the ball a little more against a bad Phillies staff.
OK I'm at the lakehouse, so I don't have time to run the numbers, but the CPA went 0-3 last series. But the Braves won it, so meh. On to these predictions!
Game 1 - Braves by 2
Game 2 - Phillies by 1
Game 3 - Braves by 1
The CPA likes the matchups except for a struggling home version of Alex Wood. Let's hope the Braves take at least 2 of 3 in this series and set the stage for a solid run to the break!