Monday, August 27, 2012

Braves @ Giants: Weekend Recap Games 2-4

Well fans, we had ourselves a great weekend. It started with a very ugly loss on Friday that promised to send things into a dreadful shame spiral. However, Minor righted the ship on Saturday, and the bats came alive. By Sunday, the Braves had scored 14 runs in two days. That's more runs than we had scored in our previous 7 games combined. Minor and Hudson were dazzling, the bats were going long, and the lineup finally looked like it might be able to produce their way into the good side of our streaky nature. Let's hope the hits keep on coming against a Padres squad that's suddenly blazing hot.

Game 2 was a bad loss, so I won't waste time on it. That's the benefit of being able to recap these games in bunches after the weekend, in that I don't have to dwell on the crap. Sheets was bad, and it turns out he was injured. Now he's on the 15 day DL to recover for the bullpen when we expand rosters here in a few days. The Braves got 3 runs on all homers, and only had 6 hits. We went 0-2 with RISP because we hardly got anybody on base. It was bad, we're over it now, let's move on. The good news was that Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward were hot, which comes up later in the weekend.

Game 3 was one of those games that had potential disaster written all over it after the first inning. We lead off with both Bourn and Prado getting on base. However, the next 3 hitters stranded them without even sniffing a scoring chance. It looked like we were headed straight into the same ole same ole strand-em-all-and-let-God-sort-em-out strategy. Then Jason Heyward happened in the third. Minor drew a rare leadoff walk, followed by Martin walking. Heyward made Bumgarner pay for his mistakes. He drove on 391 feet to right that gave the Braves a 3-0 advantage. Minor went almost 7 innings giving up 3 runs, but he escaped a big jam in the 5th where he only gave up one after putting 2 on in the leadoff. The Giants bullpen absolutely imploded after they drew within a run at 4-3, and they let the Braves put up 3 runs in 2 innings, including two that were WALKED in. It was bad for them, great for us. Heyward gets the MVP for breaking the ice of our slump with his 3 run bomb. It was as if a very visible weight came off Minor's shoulders, and he was able to pitch like a fiend for 7 innings.

Game 4 was practically a laugher for the Braves after the 4th inning. Sure at that point it was only 3-0, but the way Hudson was controlling the plate, it could have been 10. Hudson went 7 innings with 1 run on 5 hits and a walk. If not for a sacfly in the 7th, Huddy would have had a shutout. Meanwhile, the Braves decided they were going to hit, and Huddy got in on that act as well. He went 2-3 at the plate, and was actively challenging McCann about his batting average since Tim is now hitting .233 on the season. At the time, BMac was at .231, but he didn't take that lying down. Brian had his best night in a month going 3-4, and raising that average to .236 on the year. Maybe he needs more prodding from Hudson to get going? It was all in good fun, but it was good to see them all get going. Huddy gets the MVP for his great pitching and dominance at the plate, but he wasn't alone. Janish also had a 2 RBI triple, and Francisco went WAY deep in the 4th for 454 feet over dead center. Oh, and should I mention that Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman went back to back on home runs in the 9th? Yeah that happened. It was very much an unleashing of frustration on the Giants pitching to staff to help earn the series split on the back end.

I liked that we got out of hock by going deep a ton in one of the largest ballparks in the league. I like that we went 7-25 with RISP in the last two games instead of the wretched 1-12 we'd gone in the first game. It's not perfect, but it's a large improvement. I hope to see more in the Padres series. I loved that Brian McCann had a good game to maybe get him some confidence back in his stroke. I loved that Freeman got the power back in his bat during the series. I loved that Heyward is still very sharp and can get clutch hits. What I didn't like was that we are starting to have to sit Dan Uggla. Even Fredi G doesn't believe he's going to come out of this slump, so we're gameplanning around him. Dan's now 3-32 in 10 games, so I understand the decision, but he's a huge chunk of our lineup in terms of potential power and money that's now meaningless. That's never a good thing unless he makes a breakthrough in limited starts. And I agree with Fredi that they should be limited. I wouldn't give him more than 2 of 3 starts max in a series now until it breaks open.

We face off with the Padres tonight in SD for a 3 gamer. That means more 10PM starts. Ugh. I'll catch the highlights in the morning if we're not leading after 3 innings.

Go Braves!

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