Angels-Braves Saturday Preview
ANGELS AND BRAVES BATTLE SATURDAY NIGHT IN SHOWCASE TV SHOWDOWN
Interleague games are always fun to handicap, particularly when contenders from each league are squaring off in a big TV game. That’s the case Saturday Night when the Los Angeles Angels visit the Atlanta Braves in a game that will be televised to much of the country by FOX.
You have to be careful with this particular pair though. Atlanta has been in first place in the NL East most of the season (until Washington just recently caught them from behind). The Angels have been well behind the Oakland A’s in the AL West. That could leave a casual fan who rarely looks at won-lost records that Atlanta is the better team.
RECORDS ENTERING THE SERIES
LA Angels 36-29
Were these teams in the same division, the Angels would have had a two-game lead entering this weekend showdown. And, the fact that their better record is coming in the superior league suggests they might even be more superior than those won-lost records suggest. If the Braves were in the AL West, they might be .500 caliber. If the Angels were in the NL East (forgetting about jet lag for the sake of argument), they might have been celebrated as a hot team all year.
How can a team from a mega-city that starts the 2014 version of Mickey Mantle get so overlooked by the media? If it doesn’t happen in New York or Boston, ESPN doesn’t get to it until after everyone’s gone to bed.
Let’s see how the Saturday Night meeting in this series might play out…
LA Angels: 4.66 runs per game, .324 on-base, .415 slugging
Atlanta: 3.58 runs per game, .303 on-base, .380 slugging
You might be thinking that LA’s advantages are largely due to the DH. That’s certainly a factor. But, the Angels have one of the best offenses in the superior AL, while Atlanta has one of the worst offenses in the inferior NL. So…maybe a quarter of a run in differential can be attributed to the DH. The rest is based on the fact that the Halos have clearly superior hitters. Big edge here to Los Angeles.
Garrett Richards: 3.09 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 8.5 K-Rate
Gavin Floyd: 2.57 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 7.5 K-Rate
Who is this man wearing Garrett Richards’ uniform?! He used to be an automatic fade because he got lit up so often. So those are amazing numbers considering where he’s been. And, his only two recent poor outings (vs. Houston and Oakland) were immediately avenged with great bounce-back revenge efforts (only 1 run allowed in 15 innings in the rematches).
Floyd missed the first month for Atlanta because of an injury. He’s been flirting with disaster given that high WHIP. The Braves are getting him out of games just as he’s running into trouble…then slamming the door on any potential rallies. Floyd is averaging six innings per start, so he’s not quite lasting long enough to impress. Edge here to Richards even though Floyd has the better ERA.
So, that’s a slight edge to the road pitcher, a more meaningful edge to the road offense, but home field advantage in the Southern heat for the Braves. Makes for a volatile situation that will hopefully yield an entertaining game. Is there an edge worth betting? Don’t make a move until you hear what JIM HURLEY has to say!
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It’s back to basketball Sunday in the NOTEBOOK for what could be the series finale of the NBA Championships. Here’s the schedule for the next few days…
Sunday: NBA Finals Game 5
Monday: MLB Series Preview: Kansas City at Detroit
Tuesday: NBA Finals Game 6 (if necessary) or SF/CWS MLB series preview
Wednesday: MLB prime TV preview for LA Angels/Cleveland
Thursday: MLB Series Preview: Atlanta at Washington (huge 4-game set!)
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