Hello friends. This is my first Series Preview™ since we started adding header images, and let me just tell you this blogger is quite excited. We now feature a pretty header image at the top and a fancy infographic at the bottom, rendering these typed words in between less relevant than ever before, meaning I can write almost anything I want without having any fear of silly things like consequences. For instance: Julio Teheran has been overrated by the Braves world since his first start in a major league uniform. That felt nice. On to the Preview!
The Braves just finished up a 4 game series against the Giants that featured a roller-coaster performance from both our hitters and our pitchers. After scoring only two runs and giving up eleven in the first couple games, we came back to score fifteen in the next two while only giving up five. While those second two games look good on paper, it should be noticed that we received no small bit of help from Lady Luck. Williams Perez may have pitched 7 shutout innings in the third game, but he did it while walking more guys than he struck out. And the fourth game was almost in the books before a rare Brandon Crawford defensive miscue and a bloop single kept us in it. Regardless of the performance of the team as a whole, there were a couple bright spots in Jace Peterson and Juan Uribe. Peterson’s work was important, as he had been seriously struggling at the plate up to this point. He managed to collect 7 hits in the series, and on Saturday night finished a home run away from the cycle. Uribe, in addition to him being a top 5 human being of all time, was a crucial role player during the series, hitting .417 with two homeruns and a walk. He and Maybin are by far my two favorite pick-ups since last season, even considering Shelby Miller’s dominance.
The Diamondbacks just got done scoring 20 runs and winning two of three games against the Brewers. Their offense has been on fire this season, and they currently trail only the Blue Jays in runs scored per game. Most of that damage has been done by Paul Goldschmidt, who’s been putting up MVP-like numbers all season. He’s continuing to hit for a high average, but has been exhibiting better plate discipline and more power than the previous two seasons. If he can keep this up and stay healthy he will likely end up battling Bryce Harper for MVP at the end of the year. Goldschmidt has been backed up by AJ Pollock, David Peralta, Mark Trumbo, and Yasmany Thomas, who have all been putting up solid numbers in their own ways. Pollock has shown decent pop and an ability to avoid striking out while also providing some speed around the bases with 11 steals so far. Peralta and Trumbo may not have the best batting averages, but they’ve drawn their requisite walks and have shown above average power. Thomas meanwhile is benefiting from an unsustainable number of ground balls finding holes in the infield. It’s going to take a little more time before we see the type of offensive player he is.
The Diamondbacks’ pitching has been a struggle this season, and we’re going to have some pretty favorable match-ups in the next three days. Archie Bradley is among the bottom 30 starting pitchers in strikeout rate but among the top 5 in walk rate. Collmenter can atleast put the ball in the zone and limit his free passes, but he also is one of the worst strikeout artists in the game. Wednesday’s starter, Ruby De La Rosa is the only one of the three with average strikeout abilities, but he’s got a propensity for giving up the long ball. Considering the Braves don’t really hit long balls and dig putting the ball in play, I’d say he has the Diamondbacks’ best shot at leading them to a victory in this series. The Braves will be putting Alex Wood on the mound tonight, followed by Shelby Miller tomorrow night, and Mike Foltynewicz Wednesday afternoon. Wood looked considerably better in his last start against the Dodgers, but Goldschmidt, Pollock, and Trumbo have all terrorized lefties this season and will be a serious test for Alex. Miller against Collmenter is probably our best shot, with the other two games likely being toss ups. It’s exciting to see us still sitting around .500 going into June, and hopefully we can come out of this series on the better side of average. Brad, hit ’em with the ‘graphic.