It's funny, that game last night didn't feel like a pretty win. In fact, it felt like we were struggling at times to get people out, and we were struggling to get the little things done at the plate. The numbers don't really bear that out for our pitching, but they certainly give us something to think about with our hitting. Sometimes the tone of a game, and the actual numbers are wildly different. I think this was one of those games.
First, the pitching. Medlen was very good, but an error by BJ on a fly ball that hit the heel of his glove cost Medlen a shutout. Early on, you could see that Kris was laboring a bit to find the zone, and he walked a couple of batters as a result. His first pitch strike numbers, which are normally very high, was an average 14/26 for the game. O'Flaherty came into the game in the 8th, and he was just bad. Not a disaster since we plated another run in the top half for some cushion, but we needed it with EOF giving up a hit, two walks, and a run with no Ks. Small slipup by the bullpen, but it wasn't fatal. Kimbrel was iffy to start with a leadoff walk, but the Fish are terrible and bunt popped into a double play somehow. I've never seen that before in a pressure 9th inning situation. This Miami team sullies the good name of Dumpster Fire.
The hitting. Well, we won. For the majority of the lineup, that's pretty much the positive to take away from last night. Gattis and Simmons were great, going a combined 5/8 with the 3 runs scored. The rest of the team only had 3 hits. BJ went 0/4 with 2 Ks, Francisco went 0/4 with 1 K, Chris Johnson went 0/4 with 3 Ks. The Braves had the benefit of Gattis cracking a 2 run bomb in the first inning, and Justin Upton blasting a double to center that would have left most ballparks. The good news is with Gattis and Simmons ripping on the ball, we're protecting Justin Upton well. The bad news is BJ Upton has been a disaster in this series so far. He's 0-9 against Miami with a bad error. I think he needs a day off. This stuff is in his head, and like Heyward he needs a reset of the mechanism.
Nobody should panic about anything with hitters, or pitchers, or frankly anybody yet. The lunatic fringe will often try to think game-to-game about baseball, but baseball doesn't work that way. Wrap your head around this, folks. Baseball is about 20 game stretches. In the first 20 games, you see how people are doing. In the next 20 games, you evaluate the first quarter of the season and make some small adjustments to the lineup. In the next 20 games, you can move/bench a guy that's not performing. From that point on, everybody will go from slumps and streaks, and you have to ride them out in 20 game blocks. When the Braves reach the first 20 games played, we can start to raise some initial questions about our hitters. Also we're 7-1, and somehow I hear bad news on the radio about this team. It's absurd.
The CPA is now 6-2 on predictions this season, and it's a logical tie to the fact the Braves are winning games against easier opponents. That makes the algorithm a lot easier. Tonight we have a chance to sweep the Fish. Let's see what the CPA thinks.
CPA Prediction Game 3: Braves 2 - Marlins 1
The CPA believes another sweep is imminent. The only really dangerous hitter in the lineup for Minor is Giancarlo Stanton, in terms of producing runs. However, don't expect Minor to just sail through this game. He's going to have to deal with some baserunners. The CPA predicts a lower scoring game with two pitchers that had great first outings of the year going tonight, but the Braves had the edge with their power and bullpen.