Friday, April 5, 2013

Game 3 Recap: Phillies 4/5/13

This is how the other half lives. We are going to see the best of times and the worst of times with this offense. It's hard as a fan not to get too high when we're clearing fences, or too low when we're air conditioning the stadium, but that's what you have to expect in 2013. Last night's 0-2 loss with only 2 hits shouldn't be used an any kind of status point on the team, though. For one, Cliff Lee pretty much dominated us, and has dominated us for most of his career. Runs were going to be tight, and the Braves couldn't knock him out of the game. For the other part, it was colder than a Siberian toilet seat last night. Plus it was misting rain on top of the 40 degree weather. I seriously doubt we'll play in those conditions again at home. It honestly looked like nobody at the plate wanted to be there last night.

Medlen wasn't sharp. He hasn't been sharp in spring. He scuffled, he missed the zone, and he gave up 2 early runs that made the difference in the game. He only made it through 5 innings on 92 pitches with 4 walks and 6 hits. That's a WHIP of 2.00, which is frankly terrible. If not for the weather keeping a few long shots in the ballpark, it would have been much worse, much faster. The good news is that Medlen is throwing first pitch strikes 17/25 batters he faced, so he's not getting behind in counts to everyone. He's just trying to get too fine in a bad weather game, which isn't really a good idea. I think he's settling in even without his best stuff, and he gave us a chance to win the game by shutting down the Phillies from the 3rd inning.

The problem was we only had 2 hits. TWO. And Dan Ooooogla got one of those two. Irony. This is the other side of the strikeout debate, and it's not just the K's. It's the lack of plate discipline in those Ks. We didn't work counts. We didn't get any walks. We struck out 10 times. Lee managed just over 100 pitches in 8 innings while Medlen had 92 in 5 innings. We have to do better than that at working up a starter's counts in order to get the soft meaty underbelly of the opposing bullpen. This illustrates the concern I have about the mentality of our lineup when things don't go well in the early innings offensively. In the first three innings, the first time through the lineup we saw 56 pitches. In the next 3 innings we saw 37. We get impatient trying to catch up, and we start swinging for the bleachers. Plus we were probably cold. Either way, it's a bad strategy.

Now it's time for the MVP of the series. In this series, that was obviously Freddie Freeman. Across 3 games, Freddie managed 3 singles, a double, a homer, a walk, and 6 RBIs. He slugged for .900 with an OPS over 1.44 on the series. That's ridiculous, especially if you consider that it all came in two games. He can flash the leather at first, and crack it over the fences in right. Look for even more offense out of him against the Cubs.

GO BRAVES!

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