Series Preview: Phillies, April 24-26

Hey, remember how much fun everyone was having during the first seven games of the season? Holy crap! The Braves are 6-1! IT’S 1991 ALL OVER AGAIN!

Um, oops.

The team everyone expected has arrived, sports fans. Following a sweep at the hand of the juggernaut Mets the Braves are now 8-7, and 2-6 over their past nine.

The Braves bullpen, which had anchored the Braves during the first week of the season has come crashing down harder than Chad Paronto after an all-you-can-eat barbeque. Right now, the bullpen stands as Jason Grilli and a bunch of jabronis who look like they couldn’t cut it in the Can-Am League. Jim Johnson realized he’s Jim Johnson. Andrew McKirahan went and got himself suspended. Cody Martin returned to the form that left him unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft. And even a guy named Sugar Ray can’t provide us with good things. I don’t want to live in a world where such a thing isn’t possible.

If there’s been one shining moment for the Braves this season it has been the addition of Nick Markakis and A.J. Pierzynski. Paired with Freddie Freeman, the trio have proven to be a three-headed force of destruction so far. Many were critical of Markakis replacing Jason Heyward, but he’s been on an amazing run that has seen him reach base sixteen times over his last 26 trips to the plate. Meanwhile, Pierzynski appears to be on the verge of supplanting prospect Christian Bethancourt as the Braves everyday backstop.

The struggle has been real since last week but at least the Braves aren’t the Phillies, amirite?

Even the woeful Marlins just stepped up and curb stomped the even more woeful Phillies. At home. Where they are now lighting the world on fire with an electrifying 1-6 record heading into three with Atlanta. It’s a good thing the Philly Phaithful can now drown their sorrows in wine and hard liquor while they watch their team bumble their way to 100 losses.

The entire world expected Ryan Howard to be a dumpster fire in pinstripes, but no one expected Chase Utley to be one of the five worst hitters in baseball with a week to go in April. When your only position players with positive fWAR are Cody Ashe, Freddy Galvis, Odubel Herrerra, and Jeff F’n Francoeur, you’re gonna have a bad time. Maybe Utley, Howard, Ben Revere, Chooch, and Sizemore can turn things around, but will it really matter?

The pitching match-ups between these two behemoths from National League East’s past look like this:

Friday: Alex Wood vs Aaron Harang
Saturday: Shelby Miller vs David Buchanan
Sunday: Trevor Cahill vs Jerome Williams

Harang continues to be the pitcher that time forgot. If Roger is the pitching coach that fixed the ageless wonder perhaps he can clue the team’s hitters onto how to crack the Harang code.

Buchanan has one of the lowest K% and highest BB% in the Majors in his three starts. And that BABIP. Woof. Given the defense behind him, he should probably get used to that.

I’m really not sure how Jerome Williams continues to be a Major League pitcher. He’s pitched for seven teams over a career that dates back to 2003 and even included a three-year run from 2008 to 2010 where he was out of the Majors. And somehow, here he is. Still. The bar that has been set for back-end starting pitchers remains incredibly low.

braves phillies series preview

Brandon (@_bg37) is that dude K hates because of his love affair with Little Caesars. As a result of this, the two have been entangled in a years long debate over the sabermetric value of $5 pizza. Brandon‘s path to the Store has been a twisted one, involving studies in statistics and sports marketing and having been a member of the Braves online community since most were wee lads. He’s back in the writing game despite spending his free time chasing around a toddler and telling people not to buy hamsters.

Posted in 2015 Braves Series Previews, Baseball, Columns, Sports Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

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