Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Game 2 Recap: Toronto

A win is a win, and it may not have been pretty, but the Braves walked away from Toronto with a winning road trip. That's huge for a team that's been struggling with bullpen injuries, low averages from key players, and some starter concerns of late. However, Maholm rallied back from blowing an early 3-0 lead, and the Braves bats never got stopped talking from the first inning to the last.

Maholm didn't have a good day. Then again, I think it's tough to have a good day in Toronto as a starting pitcher. That ballpark is going to give up runs with the DH, the short fences, and odd bounces on a quick infield. Maholm gave up 5 runs on 10 hits in just over 100 pitches. He wasn't walking people, but it's an AL game. If you are used to NL games, it can be a little ridiculous watching teams score a combined 25 runs in 2 games. However, that's what life is like with the DH in play if you don't have a Cy Young candidate on the mound. Also, there has been a flurry of scoring in inter-league play all over the place.

If your name wasn't Reed Johnson, Jason Heyward or Dan Uggla, you had a good hitting day yesterday. If your name is Brian McCann or Evan Gattis, you're ripping the cover off the ball right now. Gattis and McCann combined for 3 total homers, all solo shots. Freeman, Simmons, and Schafer all had multi-hit days, going 8/15 with 4 runs scored. Add all those up, and you get 7 runs for the Braves, and that was enough to top the 6 from the Blue Jays. The Braves lineup abused Brandon Morrow, and chased him after only 2 innings from his start. After that, it was a battle of the bullpens to see who would blink. Guess what? For all the crap people give the Braves bullpen, they held up well in this game. In 4 innings, they gave up a combined 2 hits and 1 run. Compare to the Toronto bullpen who gave up 8 hits and 3 runs. Our solid pen work made the difference in the game, especially by Luis Avilan who went 1.2 IP after Varvaro got into trouble.

Interesting note, Jordan Schafer replaced BJ Upton for these two games in Toronto. In Jordan's last 10 games played, he's accumulated 7 hits, 5 walks, and scored 7 runs. That's about the same stats that BJ Upton has accumulated in 15 games. In that time period, Jordan's been doing in 2 games what it takes BJ 3 to complete. In May, BJ's on-base percentage is .250, while Jordan's is .383 for the month. There's a reason that Fredi is already starting to platoon BJ. He's doing it in the hopes that BJ snaps out of this struggle, but he's also doing it because Jordan Schafer has become a completely different player from the selfish pothead we knew from prior years. Jordan's now a player who's hitting to all parts of the field, taking his walks, using his speed, and doing whatever he can to get to 1st base. It's EXACTLY the leadoff hitter the Braves need, and unfortunately he's behind a guy who can't make contact right now in the depth chart.


Series preview for the 2 against the Blue Jays will be up later today. We took the split on the road, let's take the rest at home!

GO BRAVES!

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