That was ugly. I don't blame you if you turned off the game in the 6th inning and never came back. It didn't get any better down the stretch. Freddie Freeman and Evan Gattis showed up to play in the great white North. The rest of the team apparently didn't get off the plane. Freeman and Gattis went 5/8 combined with 2 RBIs, a double, and a homer by Evan. The rest of the team had 3 hits and 1 RBI, and that was by Simmons. Guys like Reed, Justin, BMac, and Schafer all went hitless against a pitcher with a WHIP over 1.40 on the season. You can't have that from your big hitters and hope to win. The Braves went 1-5 with RISP, and in that close ballpark that's not going to be enough. Playing in Toronto is similar to playing in Colorado. There will be runs, there will be blood, and you need to get out in front of it early if you want to win.
Speaking of blood, Tim Hudson started metaphorically bleeding in the 2nd inning, and it never stopped. He got lit up for 8 hits, 6 runs, 2 homers, and 2 walks. He's completely unable to keep the ball down on the road, and Toronto is not the place where you want to struggle with elevated command. Balls will leave that ballpark on a whim. Meanwhile, Buehrle went 6 innings, only 5 hits and 1 runs. It's not like he was amazingly sharp, but the Braves kept rolling over pitches to the infield. Buehrle had a 10-2 ground/fly ball ratio on the day. That's supposed to be what we see out of Hudson, but he had a 7-9 ground/fly ratio. When a sinkerballer is giving up more fly balls than ground outs? Yeah, you don't have to stay at a Holiday Inn Express to know that's terrible.
The positive thing I take away from this is Gattis. He's continuing to punish pitchers with his compact swing and simple adjustments in the box. He moved up in the batters box on Buehrle to take the breaking ball out of the equation, and he got a double and infield single off the guy. Then, on his last AB he planted one 413 feet into the right field stands. He's now slugging .612 on the season, and that's the best slugging percentage on the team from anybody with 100+ ABs. Justin is in second with .563, BMac is third at .519. These 3 guys should be in the lineup right now in every single game, without question. They give you the best chance to win.
The CPA (26-15) accurately predicted that Toronto would win that game, but will the Braves get a split in Game 2? Can Maholm help rebound the team with a day game tilt north of the border?
CPA Prediction Game 2: Toronto 5 - Braves 3
The CPA doesn't like the Braves on the road much. It especially doesn't like them in the last series of a road trip. The Braves are 4-6 in the final series of each trip heading into this game, and they are 1-2 in the final game of the trip this season so far. Add in the fact that Maholm has been roughed up on the road, and his split to RH hitters is a .274 average with with an OBP over .340? The numbers favor Toronto by a good margin, and the Jays are hitting a blistering .299 average as a team in the last week. Too bad the Braves caught them at a hot peak. Maholm will need to work the corners and keep the ball in the park to turn the tide.