Friday, August 17, 2012

Padres @ Braves: Game 4 Recap aka "Chipper Bobblehead Night"

33,000 people showed up on a Thursday game against the Padres, doubling the previous two games attendance this week. There was only one reason. Chipper Jones Bobbleheads were given away to the first 20,000 fans at the gate. But Chipper wasn't done giving. Oh no. The Magic 3rd baseman decided to have his first multi-homer game in 3 years. They were both no-doubters over 400 feet. The old dude still has enough power left to take a young pitcher yard, make no mistake. The 6-0 win is all the sweeter when you got a Chipper Bobblehead nodding away.

This game was about 2 players having an outstanding game, and as such I think they both deserve MVP nods. First, Chipper obviously gets the MVP for going deep twice on his bobblehead night. The two homers plated 3 RBIs, and they both came in clutch situations with 2 outs. Chipper seems to feed on those kinds of expectations and pressure. Second, Kris Medlen had a complete game shutout for the first time in his career. Medlen went the distance against the Padres, giving up only 5 hits and no walks with 6 Ks. It reminded me a lot of Paul Maholm's complete game against the Mets not long ago. Medlen was in complete control of his pitches the entire stretch, and once Chipper had put two in stands it might as well have been 10-0 instead of 6-0.

Besides Chipper, Paul Janish and Jason Heyward also had multi-hit games. Jason and Chipper went back to back on homers in the 5th, moving Heyward to 3-4 on the night. Janish also went 2-4 on the night with 2 RBIs. Those 3 guys pretty much made up the offensive production in two innings, the 1st and the 5th. The Braves only went 2-7 with RISP, but that's the power of the long ball. I'm never in love with it, because it's so streaky, but I like it when it works. I will say that I was right about my prediction on Jason Marquis. We treated him exactly like the Reds did in July with 6 runs on 3 homers. That complete game shutout against the Pirates had no chance of carrying over into this matchup. Since I'm also picking on his this series, Brian McCann went 0-2 with 2 walks. He was hitless over those 4 games. I have my eye on him now. Uggla went 1-4 so my eye is drifting away from him. That's the good news.

So the winning streak extends to 3 games heading into tonight's matchup against the Dodgers. It's the beginning of that 10 game stretch I've been excited/worried about since the beginning of the month. This is make or break time because it includes a series in Washington. I'm concerned that the first game has Tommy Hanson going against Capuano since Tommy is just off the DL. However, I'll get into that more in the series preview. In the meantime, enjoy the series win, Braves fans. Enjoy moving to 4 games back of those crappy Nats. And especially enjoy the fact that shutting down Strasburg seems to be all they can talk about in Washington.

Go Braves!

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