Monday, August 20, 2012

Dodgers @ Braves: Weekend Series Recap

We were lucky to get one win out of this series. Think about how poorly things could have gone if Juan Francisco doesn't come up big in extras of game one. It's very possibly that this is one of the worst hitting series we've had in a long time. That being said, we hung all our starters out to dry for the most part, even though they deserved better. The bullpen was seriously awful at holding things together in the last game, too. All in all, this isn't the kind of series I wanted to have heading into a big deal series against the Nats in Washington.

In Game 1, Hanson was good, then he was ok, then he went bad. Tommy went for a longer outing than usual: 6.2 innings, but he also surrendered the lead before he left. The Braves were down 3-1 heading into the bottom half of the 8th inning, when the game changed. Paul Janish singled, Reed Johnson singled, and Prado and Heyward got them in. That spurred on the series of events where we went to extras, had a chance with 2 outs in the bottom of the 11th, and Juan Francisco came through with a big hit to score David Ross for the game winner. The MVP of the game was Paul Janish, who went 3-5 with a run scored. He was one of the few guys who really stepped up at the plate during this close win.

Game 2 was a frustrating affair after the Braves took an early lead, but could have had a ton more. Then Ben Sheets gave up back to back to back homers in the top of the 2nd inning. Sheets was bad in this game, and it cost us. In a battle of "who gets left out" of the 5 man rotation, he's now very much in the questionable category. Six runs in six innings with 4 bombs? Yeah, I'll hope I never see that again out of Mr. Sheets. He's been great, but we need it even more down the stretch, and he's had two clunkers in a row now. Meanwhile, we got 5 hits, so it didn't really matter that Sheets gave up 6 runs. Here's where you KNEW things were going to be tough for us at the plate. In the first inning, Bourn walks, Marteeeeen doubles and scores him. Heyward flies out and they walk Chipper. So you have two on, and one out. Freeman pops out to foul ground on the first freaking pitch. That's ridiculous Freddie. He's walked two batters already in this inning and you pop out on the first pitch? Oh and then he walks Uggla, so they are loaded. That made me even more frustrated at Freeman's foul out. Rossy strikes out swinging on what would have been ball 4, leaving them loaded. Braves went 0-9 with RISP. Terrible. Oh but it gets so much worse...

In Game 3. Minor goes 7 inning giving up only a run. At one point he pitched out of a bases loaded no out jam. What did he get for all his work? Three hits of support and no runs. Braves went 0-3 with RISP because very few people could get to second base. We only had 5 baserunners for the ENTIRE GAME. Five guys. Not just a burger joint, but also a terrible day at the plate for the Braves. In fact, this may be the single worst game I've seen the Braves play all season. It was just horrible at bat after another, with Billingsly laughing at our ineptitude. This will be another one of those games where Fredi G would roll out the "Well you just have to tip your hat to <insert starter who owned us here>" Nope, here's why we lost. Bottom of the first, Bourn earns a walk, then Prado strikes out on four pitches, and Heyward grounds into a double play on the first pitch. Note that Billingsly has already walked a guy in an inning, but we're first pitch swining. Freeman went 3-1 before grounding out in the second, Francisco went 2-0 before fouling out in the same inning. Janish lined out on the second pitch in the 3rd. Uggla popped out on the first pitching the fourth. Janish flied out on a 2-0 count in the 5th. It just went on and on and on. Early swings after a guy has shown he can't throw strikes and we let him off the hook again and again. It's like we didn't want the walks. We were determined to put the ball in play, and the results were awful.

We better start hitting soon, because the Nats don't play nice. They beat up on the Mets and are sitting in the catbird seat at home for the game tonight. The only answer to beating these guys is to score 4-5 runs, because they will put some in on our pitchers. In fact, in our last series the Nats scored 24 runs on us in 4 games. We miraculously took 2-2 in a split, but the back end of that series was a nightmare. Luckily, we have better pitchers going this time around. Hopefully, we can support them better than we did against the Dodgers.

Go Braves!

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