Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Marlins @ Braves: Game 1 - Braves clinch a playoff berth

We're in the playoffs. I'm excited and not excited. My emotional conflict stems from the fact we might be semi-celebrating a one game one-and-done, or a shot at the real playoff series. So, I'm happy we are now assuredly in, but I'm still on the fence about this whole new playoff thing. That being said, it's a far cry from walking out of the stadium last year on the last game of the September collapse, and wanting to crawl into my bed to sleep until Christmas so I could remember what happy felt like.

Medlen wasn't great. He was good, but not dominant. In fact, he probably didn't deserve to win this game because he had trouble keeping the ball in the ballpark when he made mistakes. He went 7 innings with 3 runs on 2 homers and 5 hits. He struck out 8 and walked nobody. Overall, that's not a bad day for a starter, but we've come to expect so much from Kris Medlen you scratch your head when he actually gives up a late long ball. With Atlanta up 2-1 in the 7th, Solano hit a no doubter 417 feet to center, giving the Marlins the lead. Heading into the ninth, it looked like the Braves were finally going to snap the winning streak when Medlen took the mound.

BUT NO! Chipper Jones had other ideas. On a 2-1 count, Chipper drove a ball to deep right center that rattled around for a double. He advanced on a wild pitch to third with nobody out. At this point, Braves fans are just willing Freddie Freeman to hit a fly ball that will tie the game. He did so much more than that. As Freeman dug into the box with a 1-1 count, you could sense he was swinging for the fences. The pitch he got went sailing off his bat to center, bringing the entire crowd to it's feet. Could it be? Is it enough? IT'S GONE!!! BRAVES WIN IN A WALKOFF! Madness ensues. Players rush the field. Freddie gets mobbed. Champagne gets popped. Fans get sprayed with bubbly. The Braves clench a playoff berth and Freddie Freeman gets the MVP of the game.

Let's be completely honest. The Braves hitting wasn't great, but it was timely. At a 2-5 RISP mark, you can say we capitialized on our opportunities with 4 runs on 6 hits. On a day when the Braves wanted a victory to secure some chance at keeping our division hopes alive, we got it. Make no mistake, you drop that game, and our shot at the Nationals is completely dead. Now, only 4 games back, and the Nats facing a Phillies team with some of the best pitchers in the league? Who knows? Odder things have happened, but man oh man would I love to steal this division in the final weeks, and force the Nats to play in that one-gamer. Shock and awe, baby! The only way to do it is to keep winning. So let's go out there and continue our dominance of the Marlins with Maholm on the hill tonight.

Go Braves!

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