Friday, April 29, 2016

Series Preview: Braves v Cubs April 29 - May1, 2016

Let's do this quick since these are all day games, and I'm under the gun to get to the lake this weekend. No recaps until Sunday when I do them all at once. I'm gonna be relaxing on a dock.

Game 1 - Blair v. Lester
Game 2 - Teheran v. Lackey
Game 3 - Wisler v. Hammel

If we get the Aaron Blair we saw in his 3-run debut, even though that ended in a loss, I'm okay with it. Same thing with the Julio I saw in the last effort where he lost in a 1-0 effort. When you get those types of performances, you give yourself a chance to win if the offense is remotely functional. It's the 4+ run efforts that bury you as a team, and that's what buried Wisler in his last game. I'm hoping he can bounce back in his anchor position of the day games against the Cubs.

The Cubs are hot, I can't lie about that. 16-5 on the year, second in the league in scoring, 8th in homers, 5th in OPS, 2nd in team ERA. They are doing almost everything right, and it's showing up in the win column.

Here's the good news. The Braves dodge Jake Arrieta who is unbeatable right now. Here's the bad news. Jason Hammel has an ERA of 0.75 and hasn't lost a game, and Lester has a 1.98 ERA and is absolutely dealing. The getable guy in this series is Lackey with a 4.97 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP as he takes on Julio in the second game.

But the thing about that game is Julio has been bad on the road historically. In Washington he gave up 6 runs in 7 innings. Over the last 3 years, Julio's ERA jumps from 2.66 at home to 4.13 on the road. He's not great sleeping in hotels, I guess. Meanwhile, Lackey is coming off a shelling by Cincinnati where he gave up 6 runs, so he'll likely be looking to right the ship against a Braves lineup that isn't scoring well. He'll also try to dodge Nick Markakis who has raked against him in his career at an .871 OPS in 68 ABs.

The other two games? Good luck. Lester's given up exactly 1 homer to the Braves lineup in 218 ABs. That was of course to Freddie Freeman. AJ has had some success against Lester, as has Nick, but that's a tough row to hoe for the rest of the lineup. Blair will have to be really on his game to keep it close in the friendly confines of Wrigley. Better hope the wind is blowing IN, not OUT.

Wisler might have a shot against Hammel if you believe Hammel is due for an implosion. He's a career 4.43 ERA guy, so having him at sub-1.00 right now is WAY out over his skis. That won't last forever. And the Braves are the perfect team to give it to him. SIX starters for the Braves have an OPS over .900 against Hammel, so go get him boys!

CPA Predictions:

CPA split the 4-gamer with the Sox by going 2-2. It's now 12-8 on the year.

Game 1 - Cubs by 3
Game 2 - Cubs by 1
Game 3 - Cubs by 3

Clean sweep according to the CPA. Can't really blame it. Maybe we catch a break and steal one.


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