The Braves magic number for the playoffs is down to 2. Why? Because we took two out of the three games we needed to win the series against the Phillies this weekend. Hell, we probably could have swept them if it wasn't for Tommy "Sad Trombone" Hanson out there pitching. Do we have to keep putting him out there? If I wanted to watch a pitcher lose a game in 5 and 2/3 innings, I'd be an Astros fan. Actually, that's not entirely fair. Astros pitchers are gone by the 4th inning.
Game 1, Hanson takes the rubber, so you know I'm already barely paying attention. In fact I've probably already looked to see if we've got the giveup lineup in the game. Shockingly, no. We ran the full force out there including Chipper. Hanson decides to only go 5 and 1/3 innings (totally phoned it in) and gave up 5 runs on 3 homers. Did I mention he sucks? When's the last time he qualified for a win? Oh yeah, July 30th. For those of you lacking a calendar, that was about about 2 months ago. Since then he's given up 25 runs in 7 starts. Amazingly we won two of those games by simply outhitting people. Not this one, however. Braves went 1-7 with RISP, even though Prado and Uggla both had 2 hits a piece. Constanza gets the lone honor of being the guy who got a single with somebody on third. The rest of the lineup didn't show up. Sad Trombone plays a soulful tune as we lose the opener game 2-6.
In game 2, the offense exploded in the first two innings for 7 runs. Minor just had to keep the ball in the park to win this game, which he did with moderate success, save one Ryan Howard launch that hasn't landed yet. The key to the game was the Braves just slapping Halladay around early, and at the top of the lineup. Bourn, Prado, Heyward, and Chipper all had a multi-hit game. Freeman hit a 3 run jack in the first, Heyward hit a bases clearing double in the second, and Chipper knocked Heyward in with a double of his own. Add it all up, and you have 7 runs for the Braves and a quick exit for the Doc. Jason Heyward rose above the rest in the 8-2 victory with his 2 hit, 4 RBI, 2-3 with RISP day. The man was half the Braves offense, and for that he gets the MVP nod.
Game 3 was the definition of a pitcher's duel, and when it's a duel, there's only two guys for the Braves you want on the mound: Medlen or Hudson. In this game it was the latter. Huddy gets the MVP in the Braves 2-1 win by holding the Phillies to just 2 hits in 7.1 innings. TWO HITS. The one run didn't even come on a hit, as the Phillies had to sacfly their way out of a shutout. Huddy was masterful, and the Braves lineup was just good enough. And by good enough I mean they got 2 runs across even when they went 0-8 with RISP. Luckily for us, in September it doesn't matter how you win. There are no style points in a playoff race. Johnson, Prado, and Freeman all had 2 hits, and David Ross launched a ball 412 feet to give the Braves the early lead in the 2nd. With EOF and Kimbrel on the job in relief, the Braves managed to hold the Phillies to just 2 hits and a walk with 5 Ks. Truly a remarkable effort by the Braves hurlers and Huddy in the lead.
The Braves enjoy a day off today as we wait for the mediocre Marlins to arrive in Atlanta. A series win against the Fish would mean a Braves clinch in the playoff standings. We're 4.5 back of the Nats, so the division might be out of reach at this point, but weirder things have happened. I'll settle for a one-gamer with Medlen on the mound if it comes to that. Until then, just win baby!