Sunday, July 29, 2012

Phillies @ Braves: Game 2 Recap

We won a pitcher's duel. It's been a while since that happened, and with Minor on the mound nobody really saw this coming. Just the same, Mike delivered one of the better outings of his career, and the Braves had just enough offense to get the job done. I will say one of the biggest things that jumped out to me was the Philly errors. The Phillies have been terrible in the field this series with 4 errors in the 2 games. Often, they were on simple plays like a ball going through their legs, or throwing to a base where nobody is covering. It's like watching a team actively self-destruct on the field...and deep down I love that it's the Phillies doing it.

MVP of the game was Mike Minor by far. 8 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 9 Ks. He was sparkling for a guy who has struggled over the year. I still think people as a whole are going to distrust days when he takes the mound, but games like this give a lot of ammo to his camp. There's no reason why he can't be a quality starter if he stays in the game mentally like he did. The big test was when he gave up the absolutely huge 427 foot solo shot to Utley in 4th inning, making the game 2-1. That was the point where Mike could have gone to pieces. Instead, he went 4 more innings and retired 12 in a row. That's veteran ace type mound presence, folks. I love to see that because it lets me know where his potential lies long term. Especially since the kid is a lefty starter. Hell, even I've come a long way from wanting to punch him in the face early this season. He's growing up before our eyes.

The Dan Uggla milk carton watch continues. He's now 0 for his last 21. Come home soon Dan. Your parents are worried. The last time he had a hit was almost 10 days ago in Washington. He's now hitting .209 on the season. I wouldn't be shocked if he got another day off due to the quick turnaround on the night/day game today. He's got about a week in August to turn this thing around for good, or he's got to be completely marginalized in the lineup by Fredi. There's simply no way we can put a guy out at 2B batting .200 with a sub-par glove during a pennant race. Oh, and don't think I'm picking on his fielding just because he's not hitting. Dan's tied for 3rd most errors in the NL among second basemen.

Not that he was alone yesterday. The Braves as a whole couldn't hit a thing. 1-6 with RISP and only 5 hits. All 5 came from Bourn, Prado, and Heyward, the new Rocks of Gibraltar of the lineup. The rest of the team was overtly useless. Luckily for us, Philly didn't even get that many chances. With only 4 hits and 2 guys in scoring position, Philly stranded everyone. The only run they got was Utley's solo shot. If you liked pitching, this was a great game for you. If you liked quality hitting with a lot of moving parts, this was a disaster. The thing I like about these wins is they are lightspeed fast. The game as a whole only took 2:14 to finish. Suck on that, Yankees and Sawks.

Today the Braves are hoping to break out the brooms again, this time at home. You couldn't have a better starting pitcher on the mound to do it than Tim Hudson. Opposing him is Doc Halladay. It's a veritable clash of veteran titans. Only in America! Except you get the benefit of it not being on Pay-per-view, and Don King doesn't control the rights.

Go Braves!

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