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The Advance Scout: May 14-17 vs. Atlanta

Atlanta Braves in a Box
Category Braves NL Rank
Runs Scored/Game 4.95 4th
Runs Allowed/Game 4.41 9th
Defensive Efficiency .701 11th
OBP .346 3rd
SLG .436 4th
BA RISP .271 5th
Pythagorean Record 20-17 N/A

Record/Position/Streak: 24-13, 1st in NL East, L1 (7-3 in last 10)

Scheduled Starters: Monday, John Smoltz (5-1, 3.27) vs. Jay Bergmann (0-3, 3.07); Tuesday, Tim Hudson (4-1, 1.83) vs. Jerome Williams (0-4, 6.11); Wednesday, Kyle Davis (1-1, 5.35) vs. Levale Speigner (1-0, 3.77); Thursday, Chuck James (4-3, 4.04) vs. Matt Chico (2-4, 5.59)

Braves Blogs: Talking Chop; Braves Journal; Chop-n-Change

They're Feelin': New addition Rheal Cormier (greatest name ever) might not shore up the middling middle relief

After this series concludes on Thursday, the Nats will be halfway done with the Braves for the season. That might be a good thing or a bad thing. The Nats are a comparatively competitive 2-3 against the Braves thus far, but the Braves are 24-13 overall; even though they're outperforming their Pythagorean record at this moment (see above; it's a rather meh 20-17), I'd say there's a forty-five percent chance the Braves end up with between 95-101 wins, seeing as they're the Braves. (Last year was last year.) That still means there's a fifty-five percent chance that, in my world, the Braves won't be a tremendous team come the end of the season. (Last year was last year.) But I've still got a perception of the Braves in that whole Fourteen Consecutive Division Titles (Only Broken Up By the Year We Don't Recognize) era thing going on. Whether that thinking is anachronistic remains to be seen.

At any rate, the Nats play the Braves later on this season, so that would be a good time for a more substantive analysis of the Braves, because I don't have time at the moment. Instead, I think I'll dig into the old blogger grab-bag and play the Most Comparable Player Chain Game.

Jeff Francouer is Atlanta's rightfielder, of couse. Francouer's seventh-most comparable player (according to Similarity Scores and heading into this season) is none other than Ryan Church.

Church's sixth-most comparable player is Bruce Aven.

Aven's fifth-most comparable player is Kevin Youkilis, the Greek God of Walks (who isn't Greek).

Youkilis's fifth-most comparable player is the late Red Barnes.

Old Red's seventh-most comparable player is Liz Funk, who was actually a man and, to my knowledge, didn't have a body odor problem.

Funk's eighth-most comparable player is Bombo Rivera.

Bombo's fifth-most comparable player is Bevo LeBourveau, no relation to Bombo and not to be confused with the mascot for the University of Texas.

The tenth-most comparable player to Bevo (whose actual name was Dewitt Wiley) is Jeff Stone.

Stone's most similar batter at age twenty-five was Ken Griffey, which made me do a massive double-take until it dawned on me that this was Ken Griffey, Sr., whose third-most comparable player is Amos Otis.

Otis's tenth-most comparable player is Claudell Washington. Washington was a regular on the 1982 NL West champion Braves, for whom he posted a 107 OPS+, drove in 80 runs, and stole a team-leading 33 bases.

Washington's teammate in Atlanta was the great Dale Murphy, whose third-most comparable player is Don Baylor.

Don Baylor did the studio shows for MASN yesterday with Johnny Holliday, and, though I never thought I'd say this, he made me wish for Ray Knight. I mean no disrespect to Mr. Baylor, who was a heck of a player and who experienced one or two nice moments as a manager. Knight, after all, has been doing this kind of thing for over a decade.

Knight's fifth-most comparable player was Terry Moore. Terry Moore was my high school history teacher. Well, theoretically it was this Terry Moore, who passed away in 1995, after I graduated high school, though I doubt it, since that Terry Moore must've looked young for his age and I've bumped into him since 1995 anyway.

Oh, and my teacher once met Kevin Bacon.

Okay, he didn't. I guess this is where the trail goes cold.

* * * *

As for the series itself, it's four-games, four Shawn Hill-less games. We'll see not only Jerome Williams in a triumphant return, not only Levale Speigner in an historic first big-league start, but also Matt Chico, working on about twelve innings of good ball. I have a funny feeling we split.