Monday, April 25, 2016

Series Preview: Braves v Red Sox April 25-28, 2016

There's a two game series home and away against Boston this week, but since it's the same team going back to back I figure it's just easier to cover the series as a whole with four games total. Let's look at the matchups:

Game 1 - Teheran v. Porcello
Game 2 - Wisler v. Price
Game 3 - Norris v. Wright
Game 4 - Chacin v. Buchholz

The pitching is well below average for the Braves lately, but it's not really the reason they are dumping games. The real reason is that the Braves haven't scored more than 3 runs in this entire losing streak. And I'll tell you something right now, when you don't have a single true Ace on the staff, hoping to win games 3-2 is a fool's errand.

Of Teheran, Wisler, Norris, and Chacin, only Wisler and Chacin are having a good start to the season. Which is funny to me because Chacin is probably relieved he's not pitching in the high altitude of Colorado, and Wisler simply doesn't have enough experience to know any better. Right now if I'm ranking the best chances to win, Teheran and Norris are last. Which again is funny because coming into the season the Braves had them ranked as 1 and 2 in the rotation. They are anything but right now. Frankly, I'll be shocked if Bud Norris is still on the team in May/June.

Of the Boston starters, Stephen Wright has been absolutely dominant with a 1.40 ERA through 3 starts, but amazingly Boston only won one of those games. Meanwhile, Porcello is 3-0 through his 3 starts with a 4.66 ERA because the Red Sox decided to hit that day. It doesn't mean I fear Porcello more than Wright in this series, because that would be crazy, and also wins for pitchers are stupid. Boston can absolutely hit our staff, and the way Norris and Wright are pitching, that matchup could be a 13-1 shelling.

The weirdest part of Boston's starting rotation is that David Price and Clay Buchholz are complete disasters early. In 4 games each, they've give up a combined 32 runs, and 47 hits. They are flat getting shelled, and their numbers reflect it. But Atlanta has been the tonic that cures every pitcher's ills this season, so can the Braves actually take advantage of their struggles?

This hitting stats for Atlanta would say no. Castro, Frenchy, Markakis, and Garcia are hitting well right now. Everybody else is a sub-.235 greasefire. I am at a loss every time I see AJ take the plate ahead of Tyler Flowers, who is hitting .346 in 8 games with a .414 OBP. Every time, I see Freddie uppercut the ball to the warning track, I die a little inside. Nobody can hit a homer, and it's driving everyone on the team to various acts of worship reserved only for ancient pagan trials and island voodoo. JOBU NEEDS HIS RUM!

Want the good news? Gordon Beckham has actually seen one of these Red Sox starters a good bit with some decent success. He's .469 off Porcello in 32 ABs with a homer and 6 doubles. There's absolutely zero reason he shouldn't start that game unless he's not healthy. UPDATE: Oh wait he's on the DL so screw that idea. Go figure. Also, Markakis and Frenchy are hitting .390+ off Porcello, so you would hope they can chip in as well. Stubbs, Kelly, and Freddie are all .300+ off Porcello too. The question should be, "How will they find a way NOT to hit this guy, because he's a mess right now." Julio Teheran just needs to hold the Red Sox lineup at bay.

Want the bad news? Of the guys with 10 or more ABs, nobody hits Price well on this team. And only AJ has had any success against Buchholz. Oh and the Braves have never seen Wright before, so that's awesome considering he's hotter than pressing a freshly fired pistol against your thigh. Which is oddly what watching the Braves past the 6th inning feels like emotionally.

CPA Predictions:

The CPA actually thought we'd win a game against the Mets. Haha, stupid computer. We're finding NEW ways to fail that your circuits can't possibly comprehend. The CPA is 10-6 on the year.

Game 1 - Braves by 1
Game 2 - Boston by 2
Game 3 - Boston by 6
Game 4 - Boston by 1

CPA thinks we win the opener against Porcello and drop the rest like Jeff Teague dropped the ball with 15 seconds to go last night. Did you watch that? Vintage Atlanta sports right there. Just when you think you're numb enough to put up with anything Atlanta Fail-Kicks you right in the jimmy. Maybe the Braves pull off a miracle this week and split the series though. I'm more optimistic the more young talent I see.


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