Thursday, May 16, 2013

Game 3 Recap: Diamondbacks 5/15/13

I hate it when we give games away. The Braves imploded in the 5th inning immediately after we took the lead, because Hudson has been nothing but awful on the road. When we needed the shut down inning, we got socked for 4 runs. That wouldn't have been so bad if the Braves could hit at all with runners on base. We stranded 12 guys yesterday. That's more than the entire lineup left on base during the game, including our pinch hitters. We also went 1-11 with RISP, while the Dbacks went 5-8 on the day. The real killer was Brian McCann, who had been hot coming into this game, going 0-4 with those runners. He had a chance to do some damage every single time he came to the plate, but he came up short each time.

How did that 1-11 look? Here's the rundown.

Brian McCann flies out to right
Simmons flies out to center
Freeman singles for 2 runs
BMac pops out to infield
Schafer fouls out
BMac strikes out
BJ grounds out
Schafer lines out to infield
Simmons lines out to infield
McCann grounds out
BJ grounds out

The middle of the lineup was a disaster. BMac, BJ, and Juan went 1/14 with 7 Ks, 0-6 with RISP. If you get anything clutch out of those guys, we tie the game minimum. That's what's frustrating to watch. It wasn't great that Hudson blew the lead, but it was awful that we weren't up by 6 with the kinds of chances we had against a supremely mediocre starter this season. As usual for the Braves, we lose the last series of a long road trip. It's become a trend for us over the last 3 years, more often than not. I can't wait for them to get home and stop the bleeding.

I'll point out a couple of things about this team over the last week. Reed Johnson went 5/6 with a walk during the week, but he only started in one game. Brian McCann hit .368 on the week with 3 homers, CJ hit .364 with a homer and double, Justin hit .333 with 4 extra base hits, and Pena hit .273 in his 11 tries. Those five guys were pretty much on fire for most of the week. So why in the world did we not have the biggest offensive week of the year? Here's why. Francisco went 2/14 with 9 Ks, Simmons went 3/29 with only one walk, BJ went 2/20 with 7 Ks, and Dan Uggla went 2/21 with 9Ks.

If you were crafting the best lineup for the Braves it would look like this (assuming Heyward is still injured)

C - McCann slugging .630 on the season
1B - Freeman with a .295 average
2B - Pena with a .373 OBP
SS - Simmons because his glove outweighs anything, but he is hitting .241
3B - Chris Johnson hitting .324 on the season
LF - Evan Gattis slugging .514
CF - Schafer with an OBP near .400
RF - Justin Upton with an OPS over 1.000

That's your optimal lineup by numbers, and production with more than 50 ABs on the season. I would love to see it once, although we'll never get it. That would be admitting failure by guys making a combined $26M for this year alone. Also, can you guess the best hitter for the Braves with RISP? That would be Freddie Freeman and his outstanding 12/28. The worst guy with RISP? Dan Uggla is 1/22, and making us all hate seeing him in big situations.

We get a blessed travel day to sit there and think about what happened on the road trip. Maybe by the time we play the Dodgers this weekend, we'll have more happy thoughts. The best part of this road trip is that we never have to go this long on the road again. I think we can all agree that's a good thing.

GO BRAVES!


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