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Giants/Braves Series Preview

After 14,301 straight consecutive division titles, the Braves missed the playoffs in 2006, and they haven’t been back since. I’d enjoy a hearty chuckle at the Braves’ expense, but it isn’t as if the Giants have been tripping the October light fantastic in that time.

Eh, a little chuckle wouldn’t hurt.

The Braves had a weakness this offseason – the starting pitching was a little thin – and they addressed the weakness through trades and free agency. They tried for almost every non-Sabathia free agent starter, ending up with Derek Lowe, and they traded for Javier Vazquez after a Jake Peavy trade didn’t go through. What a bunch of weirdos. Don’t they know you’re just supposed to wish really, really hard for the problems to go away? It worked for the Giants’ offense this year.

And the Braves have a pretty good team this year. The starting pitching’s solid, and the infield ranges from solid-to-spectacular. The only thing holding them back is the outfield, which includes four-time cover model of This Is the Year Quarterly, Jeff Francouer. Garret Anderson has been a wreck so far, but it’s early, and he could still contribute as a first baseman for a contender.

Brian Sabean picks up the phone

That’s a joke, Brian.

Sabean puts down the phone after remembering he doesn’t read this site

The Braves are a pretty good team. I still think the Giants will figure out a way to win at least one game in the series. I’m usually not that optimistic, but I have a feeling about this one.

Hitter to watch:

Jordan Schafer is a top prospect who is struggling mightily at the plate. There’s no way he continues his struggles against the Giants. Well, I have a hunch he’ll struggle against Jonathan Sanchez, but latent, untapped talent is always something that kills the Giants. See below for more examples.

Pitcher to watch:

Kris Medlen, who starts tomorrow, is a good prospect who had an exceptionally low walk rate last year. So, if I’m putting together a top-five list of pitcher-types I don’t want to see the Giants face, would this be accurate?

  1. Young pitchers with okay stuff and good control who have given up several runs against every other team they’ve faced
  2. Young pitchers with live arms who’ve struggled with their control against every other team they’ve faced
  3. Old, crafty control specialists trying to hang onto a job in the majors
  4. Crafty control specialists with secure rotation spots, but poor strikeout rates
  5. Perennial Cy Young contenders

Yeah, Medlen’s a #1. Sorry, Tim Lincecum. Looks like you’re in for another pitcher’s duel.


Even if the Giants sweep the series, I will still be violently angry toward the following people: Fred McGriff, Randy Smith, Mike Piazza, Melvin Nieves, Jeff Blauser, Steve Avery’s healthy left shoulder, Deion Sanders, Armando Reynoso, Craig Colbert, Bud Selig, Kevin Gross, and Dave Burba.

Since this series preview is a day late, the following comment starters will also be accepted: a) Discussion on whether or not you still hate the Braves, b) how much you hate the Braves, or c) if there are any other types of pitchers guaranteed to shut the 2009 Giants out.