Friday, June 3, 2016

Series Preview: Braves v Dodgers June 3-5, 2016

I hate the West Coast swings where the games start at 10PM. The only upside to this weekend is that it's the weekend, so I can stay up a little later to watch. When it's on a weekday, I don't even bother anymore. Because I'm old and I like sleep. On to the matchups!

Game 1 - Teheran v. Maeda
Game 2 - Foltynewicz v. Kershaw
Game 3 - Wisler v. Kazmir

We're far enough into the season for you to realize as fans that this is the strongest part of our rotation going this week. If I could name 3 guys I'd carry into a playoff 5 game series (AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH, no not this season) it would be Julio, Folty, and Wisler. And yet, they face the top 3 starters in the Dodgers rotation, including the #1 overall pitcher in all the land.

Kenta Maeda is a first year MLB rookie from Japan at 28 years old, who pitched over 1,500 innings there, and subsequently came over to the Dodgers this season when they lost Greinke to Arizona in free agency. The Dodgers also needed a RH pitcher to round out a lefty heavy starting rotation. Maeda has three pitches according to scouting reports: a fastball in the low 90s with some decent movement, a slider that he uses to ring up batters, and apparently he worked on a change-up but I'm not sure how much he's throwing it. Maeda has a 3.00 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP so far in the season, and his command is probably his strongest asset as a pitcher. His BB/K rate is 17/51, which is very favorable for a rookie. Interestingly, he's much better on the road than at home, where he sports an ERA over 4.00, so maybe the Braves catching him in Chavez Ravine is a boon.

If I need to give you a scouting report on Kershaw, you either hate baseball outside the Braves, never turn on ESPN, or you go to bed before 8PM during the week. Nonetheless, he's the number one pitcher in baseball by far this season. He's a dominant lefty with 3 complete game shutouts, one loss on the season in 11 starts, an ERA of 1.65, a WHIP of 0.65, 105 strikeouts in 86 innings, and only 5 walks. He's given up 4 homers all year, and his opposing average is a paltry .169. He's only got one more walk than homers. He's also a unicorn that shoots lightning from his eyes, and firebolts from his arse.

Scott Kazmir is by far the worst pitcher the Braves will see this weekend, but that's not saying much. With a 4.38 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP, and a BB/K rate of 23/66, Kazmir's main problem seems to be his command. He'll walk as many as 7 in a game this year, so you can give this guy just enough rope and he might hang himself out there. The downside is that in his 11 year career, not many guys on the Braves have seen him, and he's a lefty which seems to give many of our hitters issues. The upside is that Nick Markakis RAKES against this guy at a .423 average in 26 ABs, with 2 homers. The other downside is that Nick sucks right now. So who knows?

CPA Predictions:

I didn't pick the SF series because I was out of town when that started. So the CPA is...22-25 this year. Yeah, not great. Let's see what we got for this series on the road.

Game 1 - Dodgers by 1
Game 2 - Dodgers by 2
Game 3 - Braves by 1

At least it's not a sweep.

GO BRAVES!

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