Too often, when a team plays poorly or can't handle an opposing pitcher because they took the wrong approach at the plate, the manager trots out the old chestnut, "We just have to tip our cap to him and focus on the next game." I hate that phrase. I hate tipping a cap to anybody in the MLB. You know why I hate it? Because not only is it horribly cliche, it's also a defeatist mentality that you did everything you could and it didn't work out. Most of the time, over the course of a nine inning game, you can point to some places where the team didn't make the most of the opportunities. I'll tip my cap only in RARE scenarios, like no-hitters and one-hit shutouts.
That's what makes this game so hard to recap for me, because Blanton pitched out of his mind yesterday afternoon. The threw a 3 hit, complete game shutout in a little over two hours. He didn't walk a soul. He only threw 88 pitches. Bourn, of course, got a hit in the game because he's a stud and probably my favorite hitter on the team right now. Nothing can stop that guy from getting on base at least once a game. Freeman and Rossy also got hits. That was it. The buck stops there. We weren't getting struck out a ton either since Blanton only had 6. A lot of it was just making contact in the wrong places.
Here's the kicker. Nobody ever got to second base for the Braves. That's how good Blanton was yesterday. He reached down, found his inner Greg Maddux, and proceeded to put on a magic show from the mound. The dude is a 4.28 career ERA pitcher. There's no reason he should have pulled this off yesterday. Even crazier was that Delgado pitched a gem of his own. 8 IP and only 2 runs? That's good enough to win most days with the kind of offense the Braves have been providing. Just not yesterday.
So, I tip my cap grudgingly. You won't see me do it often, and I hate to do it, but Blanton pitched out of his mind. That's probably the best game he will have all year, and it just HAD to come against us. Oh well, we move on the Rockies and some fresh air. Perhaps a few long balls as well.