Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Pirates @ Braves: Games 2-4 Recap aka Back from Vacation

Hey all! I hope I didn't leave you hanging by heading down to New Orleans for the weekend, but I was having too much fun to really dig into the numbers. Plus, my family told me to take a vacation from the blog for a couple of days to let things marinate. So, after watching last night's game, and getting very pissed off about our loss, I'm fully marinated. Here we go!

Game 2 adjusted my attitude towards Delgado. I've gone from not trusting him to actively disliking him when he takes the mound. He went 4.1 innings with 8 hits, 4 ERs, and 98 pitches. He lost us the game because he couldn't get out of the first two innings. Let me break it down for you. The leadoff man in the first is in a 1-2 hole, but gets a single. A ground out moves him to second. Then, a wild pitch moves him to third and a walk puts them on the corners. So, already we're in disaster mode and there's no reason for it. At worst there should be guys on first and second. A simple sac fly scores the unnecessary run.

Second inning, Delgado pops up the first guy, gives up a single, and the pitcher sacs him to second. Ok so there are TWO OUTS in the second inning. Delgado goes full on Pressley and gives up a double that scores a run. Then, he gives up a single that scores a run. Before you can blink it's 3-0 in the second inning, and Delgado is 47 pitches into the game. Eventually, after Delgado gave up the 4th run in the 5th inning, Livan had to come in to do mop up duty. Did we hit well? Yes and no. We had eight hits that only produced two runs. The number that counts is we were 1-9 with RISP. You're never going to win games that way, especially if your starter gives up two out runs and wild pitches.

Game 3 turned around my attitude. Huddy make his debut with a strong start off his injury, going 5 inning with only 2 ERs and 6 Ks. The MVP of game 3 was no contest, and it was Michael Bourn. Our leadoff man went 3/4 with a walk and a run scored, and he is really helping to set the table for the Braves. The downside was the two errors we had in the game, one of which was the wild pitch by Kimbrel that scored a run. Two wild pitch runs in two games? I can do without that.

Game 4 made me go nuts. I'll start by saying I realize Minor is going to have a bad game every now and then. Per my friend Ashleigh, I need to get some perspective on what he's done and not kill the kid every time he can't locate. With that in mind, I'll look at Minor as a whole. He's had 5 starts. Three were very solid, two were terrible. The loss to the Pirates in Game 4 is probably his second worst start, with the worst being the 6 run debacle against the Mets. When Minor is right, it's really right, and when it's wrong it's REALLY wrong. There's not much in between with this kid.

A couple of things in this game didn't really go Minor's way, and a couple more were just simple mental errors he cannot make again. An example of the mental error is Minor walking the lead-off man Barajas in the top of the 3rd with a 2-0 lead. Second mental error that inning was getting ahead 1-2 of Harrison and then throwing him a pitch to hit. That scored the first run for the Pirates and moved the runners into easy position to tie the game. The homer by Alvarez was just a first pitch guess that he took yard. I can't fault Minor there at all. That stuff happens. I can fault him for the second homer to Navarro when he fell behind in the count 3-1 and tossed a BP ball up there. At that point, the game was over.

We didn't hit well in Game 4 either, 1-10 with RISP, and a lot of those fell on Bourn. Hinske could not have been better, though. He was by far the highlight of the game as he went 4/4 with an RBI. Freeman also knocked in two runs and was very effective at the plate. Now, for a bit of bad news, McCann is really struggling lately. Over the last 10 days, BMac is 2/24 with no RBIs. That's really bad for a guy you need to be a producer in your lineup. The bad news is that as BMac goes, so do the Braves. From the 13th of April to the 20th when BMac was 11/27, we averaged 7.75 runs a game. In this 2/24 stretch, we are averaging 3.55 runs a game. The numbers don't lie. We need BMac to be more productive in the middle of our lineup to win games. We were lucky to go 5-3 in this stretch thanks to a lot of quality pitching. When the pitchers couldn't stop the onslaught? We had no chance.

Now, the offensively challenged Phillies come to the Ted hoping to right their ship. Here's hoping it capsizes.

Go Braves!

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