Thursday, August 16, 2012

Padres @ Braves: Game 3

Win one game, and you right the ship. Win two games, and you got yourself a streak. Well, we got ourselves a streak. Paul Maholm was pretty awesome, going 7 innings with 1 run and 7 Ks. He notches his 11th win on the season, and his second win with the Braves. Paul went 23/30 first strikes to the batters he faced, as well as 13-1 ground ball to fly ball rate for balls in play. That's pretty amazing. Even Huddy doesn't produce grounders like that during a game. It all added up to a 6-1 victory for the Braves, and a chance to win the series tonight.

The hitting was good, not great. That's pretty funny to say in a 6-1 win, but it's true. With the Braves only going 3-13 with RISP, I wasn't impressed with our clutch performance. However, I was impressed with one guy in particular. The MVP of the game Martin Prado. Some of you may say, but wait, didn't Dan Uggla hit a 3 run bomb? Shouldn't he be the MVP? To that I say, stop just digging on the long ball. Take a look deeper. Prado went 3/5 with a run scored last night. Going further, he should have been 4/5 on a ball hit up the middle in the first inning, but Bourn was running and the SS moving to cover had a perfect play on the grounder. Also, he should have scored 2 runs, but got hung out to dry at home on a bad grounder to the pitcher. Even though he didn't score, he stayed in the rundown long enough to get both runners back to 2nd and 3rd, setting up the Dan Uggla bomb. Martin Prado was the straw that stirred the drink last night. He was extending innings, getting hits, making the plays, and seeing more pitches than anyone on the team. He's also 7/13 now on the Padres series. Take a look at what Martin is doing, and you'll see a guy that could be MVP every night, backed up by the fact he's now batting .302 on the year. That's top 10 in the NL. He's a gamer.

Another thing to note about the game. Dan Uggla is rising. His OBP is .377 in August and he's slugging .533 for the month. I like what he's doing to get himself out the funk just in time for the division run. It was now or never heading into August, and he knew it. I guess he decided the time was now. Here's the downside. Brian McCann has gone into the toilet again. He's 0-10 in the Padres series. He's 4-33 in his last 10 games. His August batting average is .118, and he's had no homers, no doubles, and obviously no triples. Whereas he bounced back from a terrible June into a robust July, he's settled down again in August. I won't mince words about this month, either, he's been wretched. He has ONE RBI. It's August 16th, people! I know he's a beloved player, and I know he's going to ask for a bunch of money next season when he goes into a team option of $12M. I'm telling you right now, if this is how the guy performs in a contract year, you better wrap your ahead around a Braves team without Brian McCann. Shall I compare him to David Ross who is slugging .533 on the month with 2 RBIs in almost a third the ABs? I don't need a catcher who bats .230 in the back end of the lineup and doesn't throw people out. Yeah, I said it. The only person who's allowed more stolen bases this year is Buster Posey in the NL. At least he's covering it up by batting .330 on the season.

On a happier note, Kris Medlen goes again tonight against inconsistent RH Jason Marquis. Jason has been roughed up quite a bit over the season with a 5.05 ERA, and a WHIP of 1.41, but he is coming off an outing against Pittsburgh with a complete game shutout. I'm not sure what to make of the guy, other than the fact I don't believe lightning can strike twice in consecutive outings. My guess is that we can treat him like the Reds did on July 31, with 7 runs on 8 hits and 3 homers. Also, the crowd will be out in force at Turner Field since it's CHIPPER JONES BOBBLEHEAD NIGHT! Apparently it means a lot to people that collect those things. They were literally lining up at the stadium this morning at 9AM. Crazy.

Go Braves!

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