Even Gattis aka Osso Blanco announced his presence with authoritah last night. On a evening where the rain fell as constantly as the weather in a Dickens novel, the Braves still managed to put several balls in the seats, the foremost of them being Gattis' shot while his father was getting interviewed about him. The script played out nicely for the broadcast. That was a nice gesture to the fans who stuck it out in the rather awful conditions. Roy Halladay certainly didn't enjoy getting cold and wet, so he gave up after 3.1 innings. Sorry Doc, but you look like a racehorse with a broken leg out there, and the Philly fans are waiting patiently with their rifles to put you out to pasture for good.
Conversely, Maholm pitched in and out of trouble like he was dodging raindrops. 97 pitches in 5.2 innings with 66 strikes. He was hitting his spots, and the home plate ump was giving the corners. Maholm may have given up 6 hits and a walk, but he was able to rely on the 6 Ks and a timely GIDP by Kratz to get him out of a jam with no damage. I'll take his 5 and 2/3 with no runs any day of the week. The bullpen looked good except for Martinez, but he's never going to be brought in on anything but big leads or big deficits. He's supposed to be our innings eater in the middle so we don't blow the big arms. He didn't even do that right this time giving up 2 runs in 0.1 innings with 3 hits. Avilan had to come in to put out the flames in 8 pitches. I really like that kid and look for more from him in the future. I think he has a solid spot in the 7th or 8th if we want him there. Varvaro was also dazzling in his 2 innings at the end of the game, giving up no baserunners at all. He's become a favorite of mine since spring training. Right now a setup of Avilan, Varvarro, and Kimbrel would be a good 7-8-9 in my mind. We'll see how that pans out.
We had 9 runs in the game, 5 of which come off the bomb squad. We also went 2-7 with RISP, left 6 on base, and struck out 16 times. Proponents of the theory that strikeouts don't matter in baseball will point to this game and say SEE, WE TOLD YOU. Those of us who believe it catches up with you say, let me know how you feel when the long ball doesn't show up early in a game. Truth is, I think the whole argument is stupid since we all agree strikeouts are a bad outcome (and we're debating HOW bad), but Sabermetrics people are becoming like a small cult who will chase you with torches for questioning their logic. We all know that no amount of history can predict the future in baseball (despite me using the CPA to predict scores), and that today's hitters aren't the same as the ones even 5 years ago. However, you can expect several people who read the Baseball Prospectus as if it was written by the Apostle Paul to get pissed off and demand blood for suggesting that strikeouts are bad. I suggest you throw apples at them in the street. Also Nate Silver smells like elderberries.
Braves are 2-0 right now, and it's all coming off power. What I want to see is that kind of power translate to the stands. There is one thing we can all agree on, and that is the Braves payroll has been extremely handcuffed over the last few years. Almost all of that can be attributed to the gate revenue. With this product on the field, we can hope to see a surge in the seats, which means we can suddenly go from a $84M a year payroll to maybe $95M. That's a huge difference in terms of winning in October, because no team has won the World Series with a payroll of less than $95M since the Cardinals in 2006.
As for the CPA, it's now 1-1 in predicting wins. It had the Braves winning by 2 last night, but they blasted off to win by 7. What does it think about tonight? Will we even get the game in with this weather? If we do, here's the prediction:
CPA Prediction Game 3 (if played): Braves 3 - Phillies 2.
The CPA expects a lower scoring game with two of the better pitchers out there, and also the elements will be terrible. Runs could be at a premium, so we can hope that Medlen returns to his true form after a shakey spring.