The second road trip of the year for Atlanta proved to be a successful one, as the team managed to go 5-2 against the best two teams in the NL West at the time. The Braves go into a 4 game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates with a 12-7 record, good for second in the NL East behind the Washington Nationals (14-4).
The Pirates and their team line of .221/.269/.325 shouldn’t pose too big a threat to the Braves, and we should all expect at least three wins against them.
Friday April 27, 7:35
On the mound for the Braves: Tommy Hanson
On the mound for the Pirates: A.J. Burnett
Burnett did well in his debut for the Pirates and I have to wonder if he is just a guy that thrives behind all of the media attention. He was great as the number 2 guy behind Halladay in Toronto when they weren’t exactly relevant, played awful in New York the entire time, and is off to a good start back with the Pittsburgh Pirates. It is pretty interesting… However Tommy Hanson has always been pretty good.
Saturday April 28, 7:10
On the mound for the Braves: Randall Delgado
On the mound for the Pirates: Erik Bedard
These two pitchers are both doing the opposite of what their records may lead the casual fan to assume. Bedard is 0-4 but has only allowed 7 runs in 24 innings, while Delgado is 2-1 with a 5.74 ERA. To be fair to Delgado he has pitched well for the most part, but can’t seem to avoid a rough inning.
Sunday April 29, 1:35
On the mound for the Braves: Tim Hudson
On the mound for the Pirates: Kevin Correia
People aren’t really going to care about Correia in this game, unless the Pirates still have a few fans… All eyes will be on Tim Hudson as this will be his first MLB game since back surgery this offseason. We should expect the same old underrated Huddy out there because he has done well in his rehab stints and has raved about how well he is feeling. We’ll find out Sunday.
Monday April 30, 7:10
On the mound for the Braves: Mike Minor
On the mound for the Pirates: To Be Announced
I’m guessing Charlie Morton is the guy who will be on the mound for the Pirates, since he will be on regular rest. Morton has actually been pretty solid since he has been with the Pirates and would probably have a better record to show for it if he had some offensive support. Fortunately Mike Minor is still a better pitcher and the Bravos can give him more than 2 runs if he needs it. I doubt he will though.
Rolling & Strolling
for the rolling & strolling segment I use the past 7 games max for each player.
- Michael Bourn- Bourn has kept up his hot streak and is even managing to take a lot more walks than strikeouts, something we have never seen with Michael. His BB% is 15.6 compared to a K% of 9.4 in the past 7 games. I wouldn’t expect this to continue but if it does we might have to thank Greg Walker and Scott Fletcher again. In the same span his triple slash is .407/.500/.519 with .7 fWAR.
- Freddie Freeman- Freeman has continued to tear the ball up with a line of .393/.419/.750 with an ISO of .357. He has leads the team in homers (with Uggla), runs, and RBI.
- Dan Uggla- Hopefully this is where Uggla starts finding his groove. As far as I know this is the first time he has been in the Rolling section since the first edition (which was based on Spring Training performance). Uggla is hitting .370/.433/.593 with 2 homers, 4 runs, and 5 RBI.
- Clint Barmes- Barmes is really the only guy I wanted to put in this category. He 6hitting .300/.333/.600 with a .300 ISO in the past 6 games.
- Alex Presley- I was debating on leaving Presley out for the simple fact that he hasn’t been taking walks. He is .300/.300/.600 in the past 6 and like Barmes he has a .300 ISO.
- Jack Wilson- For some reason Wilson has managed to accrue 13 plate appearances over the past 7 days and is sporting a telling .167/.167/.167 line with a –.2 fWAR, 2 hits singles, and 3 strikeouts to no walks. Wilson doesn’t need to be hitting so often with nothing wrong with Pastornicky…
- Brian McCann- McCann had a rough road trip and is coming home with a .240/.269/.360 line. He has been a bit unlucky (.208 BABIP) during the 6 games and 26 plate appearances but he is likely going to have to hit against the shift more this year unless he can make the adjustment. Teams are starting to take advantage.
- Pittsburgh becomes the second team to really have everyone in the strolling category. The highest WAR on their team the last 7 games is .3. Atlanta has three players above that mark. Andrew McCutchen, really the Pirates only hope of staying in contention for a bit of the season is hitting .200/.200/.320 with no walks in the past 6 games but his slash on the season is much better: .329/.373/.400. You might be able to chalk his bad stretch up to bad luck because of the .227 BABIP but I’m not about to go in depth on McCutchen now, I leave that to the Pirates guys.
There is no reason for the starting pitching to not take some of the weight off of the offense during this series. The Pirates are one of the worst offenses in the game right now and with a slumping Andrew McCutchen in the mix it should be easy pickin’s. I can’t think of any situation where the Braves win less than 3 but this is baseball we’re talking about and anything can happen.
I am going to start predicting how we do in each series because I feel like I would be awesome at it.
Braves sweep the Pirates easily thanks to their abysmal bats and the Braves surging hitters.