This week, Brad and K tackle the Series Preview in tandem. This is because two opinions are better than one. Also, neither Brad nor K is ever wrong, and their being in agreement in opposition to you is usually a sign that you are wrong or that you are Stephen Ray Brown. The Preview:
Brad: This will be the first series that the Braves play west of the Mississippi this season. It’s also probably the best pitching staff they will have to face all year. Given these two wholly unrelated facts, what do you think are the chances that they come away from this series with the Dodgers above .500?
K: I’m going to go with like 20% tops. We have to face Kershaw and Greinke in games two and three, and no matter how badly Kershaw is struggling, it is going to be rough for us because we are what some would generously call “not very good.” Also, I irrationally love Brett Anderson and he’s been killing it this year, finally living up to all the promise he had back in Oakland. Over/under 10 total runs scored this series by the Braves?
Brad: Definitely under. The casual fan might look at the probable starters for this series and see Brett as the Braves best chance for a win, but you’re right, the guy has been great this year (3.30 FIP/3.61 ERA). Considering he’s the least noteworthy pitcher we’ll face, I’d say the likes of joke-rookie-of-the-year-candidate Jace Peterson and company don’t stand an email marketer’s chance in online dating of scoring. Though, I am looking forward to the potential glory of the Julio Teheran/Clayton Kershaw match up.
K: Taking three of four from the Brewers was pretty cool, but other than the pitching being amazing, it was more of the same from the offense. Good hitting with runners in scoring position bailed us out because we slugged a pretty awesome .296 against a mediocre Milwaukee staff and managed to get on base at a stellar .301 clip. Having said that, if the Barves have any chance of winning, it will be because Julio Teheran and Alex Wood are their awesome 2014 versions and not the depressing 2015 editions, and because double last name guy Williams Perez matches Anderson pitch for pitch against a much better line up.
Brad: I’m glad you bring up the reality that a Braves pitcher has two last names and just skates by as though that were OK. I love Williams because nobody knows who the hell he is. Dude shows up on no top prospect lists, but owns hitters at every level. And most importantly, he has two last names. It’s as though his parents decided when he was born that he was better than the average kid. He was as good as two kids to them. William? No, screw that. Williams.
K: Williams is the ultimate non-prospect. He reminds me of Jorge Campillo for no real reason. His stuff isn’t great, but he gets by. On the flip side, super excited to watch Joc Pederson. He’s the opposite of Williams. Super hyped, actually good, and his major league career has started out about as well as one could expect, hitting .237/.382/.547 (154 wRC+). Yes, he’s striking out 30+% of the time, but he’s walking 18% of the time and has a .300+ ISO. He’s so damn exciting and I like him very much.
Brad: There is a lot to like about Joc. There is also a lot to like about this Dodgers team (Except for the fact that they are the Dodgers). The Braves have a tall order facing them on this long road trip. It will be a test for a lot of the young guys, and the team will definitely need the top shelf versions of Julio and Alex to show up. The offense can’t be counted on to win this series. Even current manager, Fredi Gonzalez concurs. He said after the Brewers series that this team would be one that merely, “Scratches out some runs.” That’s a fairly apt description of what we’ve seen so far this year. This is a team that does damage with light touches that shouldn’t really be that effective. If they can continue to do that and if the right pitchers show up for Atlanta, I think there could be some surprise success in the West. That is a lot of ifs, though. What do you think, K?
K: I think the last time I wrote an overly negative preview, the Braves went and swept the Marlins, and Stephen was thoroughly disinterested last series, and we took 3 of 4 from the Brewers. I guess what I’m saying is, baseball is weird. The Braves are not very good, but we never know when they’re going to be “not very good,” and we could be swept or take 2 of 3 and I wouldn’t be particularly surprised. I’m not expecting much, but at the very least, it will be fun to watch a team that looks like it was put together by a 12 year old who turned “fair trades” OFF on his XBOX. Let’s infographic: