It is do-or-die time for the Atlanta Braves, and while we have been saying that for at least a week, the stakes are as high as they have been during the 2014 season. The Braves dropped a highly frustrating (read: infuriating) game in the series finale with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday afternoon, and now, the best team in baseball arrives at Turner Field for the weekend in the form of the Oakland Athletics. Let’s take a look at the match-up on Friday.
The Pitching Match-up:
Alex Wood has been the best pitcher on the roster in recent days, and the Braves will be handing him the ball with great confidence. The 23-year-old from the University of Georgia has allowed just one earned run in each of his past three starts, and he was absolutely electric in striking out 12 during a win over the Washington Nationals on Sunday. Oakland’s line-up is certainly potent, but if Wood has his “A”-game, the Braves are in good shape.
On the flip side, Jason Hammel takes the ball for Oakland, and he has easily been the least effective pitcher on the A’s staff since arriving via trade from Chicago. For the season, Hammel has a solid 3.60 ERA, but in Oakland, that number jumps to 5.90 over six starts, and the veteran right-hander has never been a dominant guy in terms of “stuff”. Hopefully, Atlanta will be catching him at a positive time in what amounts to a huge game.
Date: August 15, 2014
Start Time: 7:35 pm ET
TV Channel: Fox Sports South (Local), MLB Network (National)
Radio: 680 AM/106.7 FM (Local in Atlanta), Full list of Local Affiliates
Live Stream: MLB.tv (Click Here, $)
Before we offer our predictions for today, here’s a look at our records to this point:
- Carlos: 7-5
- Brad: 5-7
Because Alex Wood is on the mound, both Carlos and I will be picking the Braves to win in the opener, but make no mistake, it is almost entirely based on pitching match-up. The A’s are the best team in the Major Leagues right now, and with the way the bats are working, Wood may need to be utterly dominant.
Please feel free to sound off in the comments with your predictions for the game and feel free to rub it in our faces when you beat us on twitter (@ATLBeatBlog).
Tags: Atlanta Braves