Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Padres @ Braves: Game 1 Recap

This one wasn't about a pitcher being better than us. This was about our team being hyper aggressive at the plate and shooting ourselves in the foot. This happens every now and then when the team completely abandons the philosophy of working counts, and we get into trouble. Case in point, we didn't walk a single time in this game. It was frustrating and stupid the way we let Stults look like a world beater when he wasn't even striking anybody out. We just flailed at bad pitchers in early counts and put ourselves in the hurt locker. Second case in point, the game only took 2:23 to lose. That's stupidly fast for a 4-1 finish. I blame all the talk about a six man rotation. Also, Minor was giving up way too many hits to win this game. All in all, just another manic Monday.

Let me show you the difference between a Braves win and a Braves loss. In this game, we had the entire back end of the lineup (5-8 hitters) go 0-14. They saw a total of 40 pitches. That's 2.85 pitches an AB. In our 4-0 win against the Mets, the back end of the lineup went 2-13 with 3 walks, and they saw 3.75 pitches per plate appearance. See the difference? When you see almost a full pitch extra every time we step in the box, that not only runs the starter out of the game faster, but it usually works you into favorable hitting counts. Stults wasn't even getting ground ball outs. It was a 6-14 grounder-fly ratio, which means we were just popping up everything. That's not a dominant performance from a pitcher. That's us swinging like idiots.

Right now the Braves are at 66 wins. We are 5.5 out of the division lead, 3.5 ahead in the Wild Card race. Last year, on this day we have 70 wins, and we were 4 games up in the wild card. We were ripping things up in August back then. By the end of August, we had 80 wins. To match that pace, we'd have to go 14-2 on the remainder of the month. Have no illusions about where we are in this race. Nothing is safe if we go cold at the plate. This is where Greg Walker is going to make his money. We have to slow down, manage the game better, and stop trying to force things. There is a ton of time left in the season, and it's too early to start pushing any panic buttons. However, there are things I know about this team. We are streaky. We are inconsistent. We are mentally shaky at times. And we can beat anybody's lineup with our lineup when we hit. Let's start up the streak of wins again tonight.

Go Braves!

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