The Atlanta Braves have a light week, but sandwiched between off days comes a quick, two-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays. Atlanta is on the heels of a series win over the Miami Marlins, and the influx of Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher appears to be lightening the mood in the clubhouse.
Still, the Braves simply don't have a lot to play for with a 51-61 record and it is sometimes nice to watch an American League team that isn't in the regular rotation. The Rays are nothing "special" in their own right, at 56-56 before the series begins, but Tampa Bay is within theoretical striking distance of the AL Wild Card, and they are certainly trying to make a run.
In this series, there is a great deal of young pitching on display. Williams Perez and Matt Wisler take the hill against Erasmo Ramirez and Jake Odorizzi, respectively, and the Rays would appear to have the advantage. Odorizzi is easily the best and most established pitcher in the series, but Ramirez has also been successful in 2015 and the talent level is unmistakable in the case of Wisler.
As usual, Atlanta's performance will be made (or broken) by whether the lineup can generate runs. The offense generated nearly six runs per game against Miami, but a lot of that could be attributed to ghastly play by the Marlins, and with the Rays, nothing is guaranteed. Regardless, this breezy trip to central Florida should be entertaining, and that is all that we can ask for this week.
Tuesday, August 11, 7:10 p.m. ET
ATL: Williams Perez
2015: 10 Starts, 4-2 W-L, 4.48 ERA, 4.59 FIP, 4.33 BB/9, 6.41 K/9
TB: Erasmo Ramirez
2015: 17 Starts, 8-4 W-L, 3.83 ERA, 3.80 FIP, 2.61 BB/9, 7.05 K/9
Wednesday, August 12, 7:10 p.m. ET
ATL: Matt Wisler
2015: 9 Starts, 5-2 W-L, 4.85 ERA, 4.60 FIP, 2.77 BB/9, 5.54 K/9
TB: Jake Odorizzi
2015: 18 Starts, 6-6 W-L, 2.77 ERA, 3.32 FIP, 2.28 BB/9, 7.59 K/9