The Braves are off to Boston and then back to Atlanta for a silly circus of a four games series. To pay homage to the duplicitous nature of this set up, K and Brad have tag-teamed to bring you the preview.
K: I’m not super sure who decided back-to-back two game interleague series was a good idea. Against the same team. In a home-and-home set up. I’ve been told we did the same thing last year. But this is stupid and asinine and I demand we treat this as a single series between two teams that can generously be called “not very good.”
Brad: I do recall doing this last year. I went to one of the games, actually. It was a sham then and it’s even more of a sham now. All parties involved should be ashamed, for this is not The Braves Way. They should also be ashamed because this will not be good baseball. The Sox are loaded with great players from a bygone era. The Braves. Well, you’ve seen them. You see them everyday when you take your morning constitutional.
K: In a lot of way the Red Sox are the Braves. They’ve got a few key cogs that have been holding the fort down–Freeman for Atlanta, Pedroia for the Sox–but otherwise, they’ve been terrible. The Braves starting rotation has pitched to its peripherals this year, with a 3.94 ERA supported by a 4.11 FIP. The Sox starters have pitched marginally better, with a 3.93 FIP, but an anomalously low strand rate has led to an ERA almost a full run higher than Atlanta’s. The bullpens are equally terrible (4.31 and 4.32 FIP’s) and the offenses are equally middling (92 and 91 wRC+’s).
Brad: Baseball has suplexed us all this season. We’re lost in its topsy-turvy world where scoring eight runs means your team will likely lose. The Braves are not just under-performing right now. They’ve gone beyond that and now exist in a night terror state of play. We had no expectations and they have still somehow managed to disappoint. All while still remaining in the hunt for the division (Mathematically, that is). It’s been a chore to watch and will continue to be. But at least there have been some dingers these past few days. And we have a Shelby Miller vs. Clay Buchholz match-up to look forward to. Whatever ballpark it takes place in.
K: I have enjoyed the taters, even though the vast majority have come against the Braves. I love the Braves and am a hostage of their ill fortunes, but nothing brings a feeling of joy and purpose to my life like watching a Luis Avilan meatball get launched into the sun. You can look forward to Shelby all you want. I’m stoked for Williams Perez. I know, he’s not good. I’m just infinitely fascinated by him. He comes into this series with a 3.85 FIP, but a 2.70 ERA, and I can’t quite figure out where the disparity is. He’s gotten a tad lucky with strand rate, but nothing jumps out at you as crazy lucky. Watching him guile his way through Pedroia, Hanley, Bogaerts, and the dead body of David Ortiz should be fun.
Brad: The disparity comes from the fluke. It’s not necessarily luck nor is it anything that we won’t be able to quantify down the road with better sample sizes and scouting reports. It’s just nonsense that comes with unscripted sports. There is a lot of shit and a lot of good, and you never know which you’re gonna get with Atlanta. But I, too, love seeing Avilan get crushed. Because I love seeing the Braves. For decent or for shit. And that’s why I and many of you reading this are better fans than Red Sox fans. Boo, Boston. Yay, Atlanta. Brad Blackburn 2016.
K: Fun fact: most Red Sox fans haven’t even noticed they won the World Series in 2007 or 2013 because they still have the Sports Illustrated 2004 recap VHS on infinite loop. One day soon, Rent-A-Center is going to show up and take their VCRs from them, and they’ll be left wondering what happened to Big Papi and ‘Tek and why is something called a Brock Holt getting meaningful at-bats? Don’t they know we’re world champions? Contendahs? I hate Boston. I hate the Red Sox. I hate Shane Victorino. And I hate this 4 game home-and-home.
Brad: When I think about Boston I think about the night I had to chaperone my sister and her friend–who somehow managed to get drunk under my careful eye–when they went to see the 2005 Jimmy Fallon remake of Fever Pitch. I was vomited on that night. And that is what the Red Sox mean to me. Play ball.