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Braves look to extend current woeful run for Tigers

Detroit is currently the coldest team in all of baseball. The Braves are flying high. All signs are pointing towards a good night but the game is played on grass instead of paper.

Atlanta Braves v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

Well, here we go again. The Atlanta Braves are sitting on top of their division and are roaring into the home stadium of an American League team that is struggling mightily. This time, that role is being played by the Detroit Tigers, who are coming into this game at the lowest point of their season so far.

With that being said, I’m very certain that this team has already learned the lesson that no Major League Baseball team should be underestimated and they took that lesson during their trip to Oakland to see the A’s. That’s my non-analytical take on why I figure that we should be in for a much improved performance in this series than the one in Oakland.

It also helps that the Braves are getting welcomed into town with a bullpen game. While bullpen games are no guarantees of success for opposing batters, the Braves won’t be too torn up over the fact that they’ll be seeing Detroit’s bullpen to kick off this series. The Tigers will be heading into this game with the 22nd-best bullpen according to fWAR, with their relievers collectively throwing for an ERA of 4.05 (98 ERA-) and a FIP of 4.06 (and you guessed it: 98 FIP-). For comparison’s sake, there’s been great gnashing of teeth and rending of garments over the Braves bullpen doing bullpen games and they’re currently sporting an ERA of 3.64 (82 ERA-) and a FIP of 3.71 (87 FIP-) so the lesson here is clearly that things could always be worse, you know!

Detroit’s bullpen is also coming into this game after having coughed up a late-inning lead yesterday afternoon and they’ve had a few games this month where their bullpen has basically cost them a game. While the back end of Detroit’s bullpen is usually very solid with Jason Foley and Alex Lange cleaning things up at the end, this still figures to be a tall task for the Tigers relievers to figure out a way to keep Atlanta’s lineup quiet for an entire game.

On the other side of things, Charlie Morton will be looking to bounce back following an underwhelming start against the Mets in his last outing. Morton was unable to get through five innings in what was arguably one of his worst starts of the season. Here’s hoping that this was the nadir for Morton and that there’s nowhere to go but up for the grizzled veteran of Atlanta’s rotation. Morton has done a solid job of bouncing back from rough performances this season and he’ll have a prime opportunity to do so against this Tigers lineup.

Detroit will be entering this game with the third-lowest team wRC+ in all of baseball with 82 — just one point above Kansas City in dead last. Detroit is dead last in team wOBA, as their .279 wOBA as a group is a few points behind those same Royals. During this abject run of form, the Tigers have scored three or fewer runs seven times in their nine straight losses. Any time where their offense actually showed signs of life, the pitching let them down. Plain-and-simple, it would be massively disappointing if Morton didn’t find a way to extend Detroit’s misery at the plate with a solid performance on the mound tonight.

Again, I’m pretty certain that the Braves are probably going to be well aware of the fact that this team should still be taken extremely seriously — if the A’s (who are suddenly on fire after having won five straight games) can take a series off of them, anybody can. Hopefully the series loss in Oakland (or even yesterday’s loss to Washington) will be properly used as a warning and we’ll see a renewed and positive effort from the squad tonight. The Braves are quite clearly the better team and it’s just a matter of Charlie Morton and the rest of the squad going out there and proving it.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Monday, June 12, 6:40 p.m. ET

Location: Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan

TV: Bally Sports South


Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan

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