Series Preview - Win a game. Please. Any game.
This is where I am at with this season:
Right in that meaty part of the curve between Bargaining and Depression. Struggling to find meaning and reaching out to others, but also overwhelmed and helpless. Lets just fucking get into the matchups.
Tuesday, May 10th 7:20 PM – Garrett Whitlock (1-1 1.25 ERA) vs Kyle Wright (3-1 1.74 ERA)
Wednesday, May 11th 7:20 PM – Nathan Eovaldi (1-1 2.94 ERA) vs Ian Anderson (3-1 4.01 ERA)
I would like to personally thank the schedule Gods for giving me my birthday off yesterday. Every player has gotten their off days recently, and it feels like yesterday was mine. Today, we jump right back into the circus known as the 2022 Boston Red Sox with our sweetest and goodest baby boy Garrett Whitlock taking on the defending World Series Champion Braves. He continues to impress each and every time he sets foot on the mound, only allowing 3 runs thus far on 2 home runs (one of which was a fluke at Yankee Stadium). Like with most teams outside our division, the sample sizes for the Braves against Whitlock is quite small, but also as impressive as you'd expect. 12 PAs, 1 hit allowed, 4 Ks, 0 walks. I think Whitlock has a short leash again this time around, with a lot of our pen being fresh after the day off and this only being a 2 game series. At most, he goes twice around the lineup before moving on to the bullpen.
This Braves lineup loves the long ball, collecting 36 home runs over their 30 games, good enough for fourth in MLB. That being said, it has not translated to that many wins, as they sit just below .500 at 14-16. The usual suspects are leading their offense, Austin Riley, Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna, alleged scumbag Marcell Ozuna, and newcomer Matt Olson. They are also bolstered by Travis d'Arnaud and Orlando Arcia, rocking .299 and .296 AVGs respectively.
The Red Sox are looking pretty similar against Kyle Wright, going 2-19 with 4 Ks and 3 walks. HOWEVER, JBJ has a home run off of him... so... Hell yea. To be honest, I struggle looking at the matchups now, because I basically have to take our current stats against these pitchers and water them down by like 75% to judge what could happen. Wright is a strikeout pitcher, sitting in the 82nd percentile of K%, but pretty much excels in every contact category as well. He leans heavily on his curveball, throwing it 33% of the time, mixing that with his 95 MPH fastball that he'll throw 25% of the time. It would be really sick if he left a couple of curveballs hanging that Verdugo can take 600 feet just outside of the foul pole, or for Kiké to pop up to the infield. I have a feeling today's offense will be more of the same, and the bullpen decides to allow 7 runs in the late innings after Whitlock is done spinning yet another gem.
The lineup has had considerably more success against Ian Anderson, with a .286 AVG on 28 ABs. We match 8 hits off of Anderson with 8 Ks against him, plus another 3 walks. Verdugo has seen him the best, with 3 hits on 6 ABs, with JD and Xander both having an XBH off of him. Anderson has quite possibly one of the funniest baseball savant pages I have seen, with him being as consistent in what he throws as humanly possible:
I really don't have to dig into that data to know what he will throw. It's his fastball the most, then changeup, then curveball, and maybe once or twice in the game his sinker. Since he is so consistent in what he throws, I think there is actually a chance at least JD has some success on Wednesday. We know how much he grinds film, and if he knows what is coming, then he can punish the Anderson for not keeping him on his toes.
Eovaldi didn't have his best stuff Friday against the White Sox, but he has still been outstanding on the season. He has a similar sample size and success against the Braves as Ian Anderson does against the Red Sox. 20 ABs, 6 hits, 7 Ks, and 2 walks against this lineup. There is an outlier, in him facing Travis d'Arnaud 11 times (good for 3 hits, 2 of which being doubles, 4 Ks and 2 walks), so those numbers are a little deceiving. Outside of d'Arnaud, the Braves lineup has 3 hits on 11 ABs, 2 Ks and no walks. This result will hinge on whether Eovaldi can go deep into the game and we can avoid needing to go to the bullpen too early. If he can give us 6+ innings of work with less than 3 runs, I think we may stand a chance here, but I know that is asking this Red Sox lineup for a Herculean effort.
Although this is a two game set, there is a third matchup to keep an eye on, and it is perhaps the most important matchup of the season. Of course, I am talking about Xander Bogaerts vs Dansby Swanson. Bogaerts stands at 6'1, rocking some perfectly manicured facial hair, and brown eyes that will stare daggers through your soul. Facing him will be Mallory Pugh's husband, Dansby Swanson, who matches at 6'1, who favors a more shaggy, southern boy look.
I got Xander in a 7 game slobberknocker, but this one really could go either way. Whichever way it does go, I can promise you there will be at least one winner, and that is me for getting to watch these 2 for the next couple of days.
Also of note - Don Orsillo is calling the game today and I think that is just so neat.