I'm not going to sugarcoat this series; it was pretty brutal. I don't really understand how we can get so many hits, but none of them were important in the latter games. The good news is that the Nationals got swept by the Yankees, in an even worse fashion than us I might add, so we're 4 games back in second place for the NL East. Unfortunately, as we get closer to July, scoreboard watching is going to become very important for the Braves. You can take solace in the fact that while we struggled with the Orioles, the rest of the division was just as bad. The downside? We head up to NY to face the Yankees again, and they've won 9 in a row.
Game 1 looked doubtful in the 4th inning when the Orioles took the lead 2-1, but a Simmons home run in the 6th put us back on top. That sort of saved the Braves from another bad outing at the plate where we went 1-7 with RISP, and we hit into 2 double plays. We managed to get 4 runs on 11 hits, but we stranded 8 batters in the process. That turned out to be a terrible omen for the games to come. Hanson pitched well enough to go 5.1, but he couldn't stick around to get the win. That went to Durbin, who came in to clean up the mess in the 6th with 2 straight strikeouts. That guy continues to amaze. I want him in more key relief positions, like, I don't know, THE EIGHTH INNING. Wake up Fredi, he's the best reliever we have!
Game 2. I was at this game, and it was an offensive disaster on pretty much every level. The only upside was Jason Heyward getting a hit in the 7th to break up the possible no-hitter by Hammel. Speaking of which, Hammel went the full 9 for a complete game shutout, walked two, and struck out 8 batters. He was masterful, and we were absent at the dish. I won't really bother with the relief pitching issues, because in the words of Bob Uecker, "One hit? That's all we got? One God-Damn Hit?!?!" Yep. That's all we got. So, was Hammel THAT good, or were we THAT bad? Short answer, Hammel was fantastic that day, and our normal approach wasn't going to work. He was throwing first pitch strikes to more than half the batters, and he was economical with his pitch count only throwing 103 pitches in the win.
Game 3 wasn't as bad as game 2 at the plate, but the frustrating part was what I'm going to call, "The Curse of Delgado" reared it's head again. What do I mean by that? Well Delgado managed to pitch an 8 inning, 2 run, 3 hit gem of a game, but we couldn't support him with a single run. We had the hits (7 hits in total for the game), but for some reason we could never string anything together. In fact, we only got 2 guys in scoring position during the entire game. The Orioles only had 3 RISP. Both teams stranded them all. The difference? A sacrifice fly in the 2nd that scored a run for the Orioles, and a balk in the 6th that got in a guy from third. Really? We lost a balk and a sacfly? Oh, and here's the kicker, at one point we bunted into a double play. HOW THE HELL DO YOU BUNT INTO A DOUBLE PLAY??? I had to literally go take a walk during this game because I was so mad at our hitters.
If there was a stat of the series, it would be double plays. There were literally 12 double plays in this series combined. It was like the two clubs were trying to out-crappy each other at the plate, and we won that contest. But I'm sure we'll get right in our next series? Right guys? Oh wait, it's the Yankees. Oh and double wait, it's a game on a Monday where we're 0-9 on the season. Oh and triple wait, it's Mike Minor on the mound against CC Sabathia again.
Can you feel it? That's my blood pressure rising to dangerous levels. We better have some answers at the plate very soon, or this series against the Yankees is going to turn into a massacre. Here's a list of guys who need to get their heads right: Dan Uggla (1/18 in the last week with 9 Ks), Martin Prado & Michael Bourn (both batting .240 on the week with only 1 walk a piece for an OBP of .269), and Chipper Jones (4/18 with no RBIs on the week). Who's hot right now? Jason Heyward and Andrelton Simmons. Also Brian McCann has 2 dingers to his name in the last week. We need the rest of the lineup to kick it into gear.