Call it a bad series. Call it the Pirate's revenge for Sid's Slide. Call it whatever you like, but the Pirates have had our number for the last few years, even when they had no business beating us. This series had the makings of at least an easy split on paper, but it folded before our eyes when the Braves couldn't move runners.
Remember all those comments about how strikeouts look obvious when you aren't hitting the long ball? Welcome to the series that put them in the forefront of your mind. The Braves struck out 40 times in this series. Let that sink in. The Braves only scored 9 runs, and went 3-23 with RISP. Yeah, in four games. It would have been worse, but we didn't even get a runner into scoring position in one of our games. Short of getting no-hit in game 2, we played some of the most frustrating baseball we've seen all year.
Here's some food for thought. In game 1, the Braves had 10 hits and 8 walks, and they plated 6 runs. In game 4 they had 8 hits and 7 walks, and they plated 2 runs. Why the difference? We had homers in game 1. That's the problem. We're getting people all over the basepaths, but we lack the ability to do the small things that move them over and get them in right now. 15 baserunners should net you more than 2 runs unless you're shooting yourself in the foot. We've become so reliant on the long ball, that we forgot how to win the way you're supposed to win in the NL. Pitchers must execute bunts, batters must make contact on a hit and run, and hitters can't strike out with the bases juiced. You have to put the ball in play to put pressure on a defense. The Braves hit .283 when they make contact. We just can't afford to whiff at key times if we want to win when the big shots come up short. Some good news is that Freddie Freeman is coming back today. We need him to establish some order to this lineup. It's no shock that we've struggled a bit with him out of the lineup.
Next, we head to Colorado, who just happens to be the hottest team in baseball. They also play in the coldest stadium. Colorado is 8-1 at home, tied with Atlanta at 13-5 for the best record in baseball, and they are 8-2 in their last 10 games. They've scored the second most runs in the majors, and that ballpark is a launching pad for home runs. Oh, and as an added bonus, we'll be lucky if the weather gets out of the 30s for these games, AND we may see some snow. Lovely. If I was rooting for anything right now, I'd want every game snowed out, so we can just redo the entire series later in the year.
In about 3 hours, I'm getting on a plane and heading to Hawaii for a week. As such, the blog will be spotty at best while I relax on the beach. I believe you'll be able to survive the Rockies and Tigers series with the following goals. One, the Braves need to capitalize when we get chances. Two, going 3-3 in these 6 games this week would be an good road trip at this point. We just need to weather these literal storms and get back home to fight another day. Finally, the schedule is going to be brutal for a while. There will be times where we could feasibly lose several in a row over the next month, while winning several in a row when the bats heat up.
See you on Sunday when I'm back in town, or in the possible update on Hawaiian time from the biz center.