Here in early August the Braves have made it to the abandoned port-a-john section of their storied 2015 season. Since the break, Atlanta is 5-11. Prior to their Sunday win, they had been swept mercilessly by the Orioles and gotten the ever-loving piss beaten out of them by the mighty mighty Phillies in three games straight. Various trades, injuries, and plain old realities have set in on the team, as we all expected they would. But the schedule goes on, and the Braves are headed home to host the San Francisco Giants.
The Giants, in contrast to Atlanta, have been 11-4 since the break. San Francisco has been hitting the ball well all season and they come to Atlanta tied for the NL lead in wRC+ (111) and are sitting third in wOBA (.322). A huge part of their offensive success has predictably been Buster Posey. Posey is having one of his best seasons with 153 wRC+, a .328/.388/.504 triple slash, and .383 wOBA. However, Buster has not been alone at all. Joe Panik is not far behind in production (135 wRC+), though Atlanta may miss him for part of this series due to a back issue. Beyond those two leaders, the Giants have 6 regulars in the lineup with better than 120 wRC+. They cut a formidable offensive profile no matter how you look at it.
What pitchers will they be facing in Atlanta? I could list the names for you (and will), but to quote a true sports hero, “IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT THEIR NAMES ARE!” Because you see, even though the exquisite Shelby Miller is among the three starters the Braves will be sending to the mound, and even if he and Williams Perez and Mike Foltynewicz manage to pitch lights out in all three games, it just wouldn’t make any difference. Because the Braves are not going to score any runs.
San Francisco’s starting pitching has a lot of great names, but they have not been producing extraordinarily the whole season, either due to injury, general falling off, or just being Jake Peavy. They will run out Matt Cain, Peavy, and Bumgarner this series. But the fact of the matter is that they could send Tony Bennett to the mound and Atlanta wouldn’t be able to muster much more than a couple of weak grounders off him. Since the break Atlanta has posted a 58 wRC+ and .255 wOBA. Good enough for worst in the MLB by a safe margin. This comes as they have perfected their fun-to-watch small ball system with a league-crawlspace-level .109 ISO on the year. The Braves don’t hit the ball now. They’ve constructed a lineup to move past that time in their history. They may accidentally knock one out like Markakis has twice this year, but it’s not going to be enough to worry about winning many games.
But the schedule goes on. And anything can happen in the game of baseball. After all, the Mets are tied for first in the NL East. That’s as much hope or reason I can offer you for this series.