David Wright ruined our fun. Lately, it's like the Braves have established a catch and release program with games we should have in the bag. Run free, little game! Nobody can hurt you now! We watched the Braves bullpen completely implode for the first time this season, we watched about four shots to right field that would have landed in the upper deck if not for wind, and we watched two popups by the Mets leave left field in the fickle wind's jet stream.
The game started with an odd, wind-blown popup that turned into a double for Tejada. A bad sign right there of things to come. After two outs, John Buck comes to the plate. Now, we know from the scouting reports and prior games that John Buck is leading the NL in RBIs. We have a base open. There's no reason in the world to pitch anything over the plate to this guy. So what does Minor do? First pitch fastball right over the plate that Buck deposits 410 feet into left center. Come on, Minor! You don't pitch that way to that guy in that scenario. You could have worked the corners and walked him, then pitched to Turner who has zero homers on the year. But nooooooooooooo! Fastball down the pipe. Good choice.
So the Braves are down 2-0 before they even bat. We got the leadoff guy on in a walk, but Simmons erased that quickly with a double play. In the 2nd inning, Minor gives up an immediate homer to Duda that was a popup on a non-windy day. At this point you're probably thinking, "Man this looks exactly like last night." I was, and it was not a good feeling. Of course, Minor finally settled down after that, and he sat down the next 18 in a row. Not that I'm ungrateful for him pulling it together, but I'd really REALLY like our starters not to spot the other team a 3 run lead before they settle in. In the words of Bill Lumburg, that would be great.
The offense showed up in this game. In the 3rd, they picked up a run on a single. In the 5th, they tied it at 3 with a single and a sacrifice. It could have been much, much more. The sacrifice fly that Justin hit to right would have been a grand slam on a calm day. But no, the wind was determined to ruin our fun along with David Wright. With a sacrifice in the 7th, the Braves found themselves in the lead 4-3. Marlon Byrd decided to tie it with a bomb to center at 4-4 in the 8th. In the bottom half, El Osso Blanco finally got a Braves homer on the board with his bomb to center at 427 feet. That meant it was Kimbrel time in the 9th.
Kimbrel time turned into Wright time very quickly. After getting David into a two strike count, Kimbrel had him set up perfectly for the slider strikeout pitch. However, he opted for the dead red fastball. Notice how that decision got us into big trouble in this game? David turned on that pitch and hit it, I kid you not, 461 feet into center. That's absolutely murdered. If you can time up a Kimbrel heater, that's how you can beat him, and David Wright did us very wrong.
At least that blown save only left us with a tie going to the 9th, but the Braves couldn't finish the drill with small ball. After a leadoff double by Pena, and a perfect bunt to get to 3rd and one out, we couldn't get him home. That would prove costly in the 10th, when Walden completely lost control, walking a guy, plunking a guy, and giving up the winning runs. Braves lost 5-7 to the crappy Mets and the blustery winds.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm upset about the way we bled this thing away, but I can't really fault a bullpen that made one mental lapse. The bullpen is still best in the majors, and it's been a big reason why we won so many games in April. I can't really fault the offense because it put up 5 runs, even if they did only go 2-7 with RISP, which should be more than enough to win a game. I can't really fault Minor, because he battled back to a tie game and gave the Braves a chance to win. I can't even blame the back end of the order, because BJ, Juan, and Uggla combined for a 5/10 night at the plate. So, we will blame the wind. We will blame the conditions and move on with our lives, because without that stupid wind, I think we win this game 8-2.
The CPA was right last night, unfortunately for the Braves, which moves the mark to 13-10. If we get the game in today, and the weather says we likely won't, let's see what the prediction looks like.
CPA Prediction Game 2: Braves 4 - Mets 3
The Braves can hit Niese, who doesn't have overpowering strikeout stuff and will walk some guys. The Mets have never seen Teheran, which may benefit the starter who has been getting progressively more confident on the mound. Also, the Braves haven't lost a game yet with Teheran starting. If we can get the game in (the radar is looking bad) we should see a close Braves win.