The Atlanta Braves scored 738 runs this season, good for 5th in the NL. The San Francisco Giants scored 697 runs, finishing 9th. That 41 run difference works out to an extra run or so every four games for the Braves. The Braves gave up 629 runs (3rd in NL), while the Giants gave up 583 (2nd). That's a difference of 46 runs. Thus the Giants save about a run or so every four games. The Giants give up about 14 or 15 runs, on average, in a four game span (3.60 rpg x 4 = 14.4). The Braves give up about 15 or 16 runs (3.88 x 4 = 15.52). On the scoring side, it flips. Atlanta (4.56 x 4 = 18.24) scores about 18 runs in a four game stretch, the Giants (4.30 rpg x 4 = 17.20) about 17. In seven games this year, the Giants scored 21 runs against the Braves and gave up 28. They lost four of the seven, taking two of three in April at home and losing three of four on the road in August.
On paper, this is an even series. Both teams needed 162 games to beat the Padres and the rest of the NL to qualify for the playoffs. The Giants were hot (18-8) in September, the Braves not (13-14), though they did have to play the Phillies six times, winning only once. The Braves were a 1st-half club, going 52-36 before the ASB, while the Giants were a 2nd-half team, going 45-29.
Six months of baseball will get settled in a five game series. As we well know, anything can happen. But I like the Giants chances for two reasons--one is the home field advantage. The Braves are great in Atlanta (56-25), but only average on the road (35-46). The Giants play .605 ball at home (49-32), so you have to like the fact that we could play three in San Francisco. The second is injuries--the Braves will be without Martin Prado and Chipper Jones. That's got to hurt them. I also think we have great bullpen depth, and we can do a Padres-style shorten-the-game-to-six-innings-thing, which as we know is hard to beat. If Tim and Matt can "hold serve" in SF, the Braves will have a tough time coming back. My fears? Ground balls to the left side and line drives to left field will give our slow, fat guys fits. And our penchant for double-play balls brings joy to the hearts of sinker-ball pitchers like Derek Lowe and Tim Hudson.
It should be a great series, and the 1-0 crowd might get their wish and see a few of them. I think the Giants are peaking at the right time, though, so I think we'll take 'em. I'm looking forward to seeing our young arms get their first shot at post-season glory. Show' em what you got, lads!