That's what happens when you let a bad team hang around. The Braves had plenty of baserunners and plenty of chances, but they capitalized on none of them. In fact, they didn't just fail to make the most of their opportunities, in several cases they actively shot themselves in the foot with bad baserunning. Am I frustrated? Sure. It's never fun to stay up to watch a supremely boring pitchers duel when you know for a fact your lineup is better than theirs. It's frustrating to watch a starter who has struggled on the road look suddenly spot-on, only to get absolutely nothing in support. It's frustrating to watch a team make mental mistakes that cost them chances. That being said, it's one game in four, and I only want 2 wins to count this as a successful series. Treat it as a 3 gamer from this point forward, and go win 2 of 3.
I'll open the analysis with the good news. Tim Hudson was fantastic. Those that were questioning him should go back into their holes. He made a mechanical adjustment a week back, and it's paying dividends on the mound. Things like that are what separates the good starters from the veteran Aces. Tim wasn't just going to rely on his stuff to get him out of a jam. He's constantly tinkering and tweaking things until they get right. Tim went 7 innings, 4 hits, no walks, and one run. Unfortunately that one run was enough. Some people will focus on the grand slam in the 8th, but I think if you had any run support at all, that doesn't happen. Tim was only at 76 pitches when he left the game after the 7th. The reason was that the Braves were down 1-0 and somebody had to pinch hit for Tim to get the Braves back in the game. If the game is tied (like it should have been at that point), Tim stays in the game and continues to shut down the Dodgers lineup. Who knows if we win, but I think the momentum would have swung in our direction.
The failure for the lack of offense hangs on the back end of the order. They were not clutch. They were not able to get a timely hit, nor were they able to put the ball in play when needed. In the second inning with a runner on second and two outs, BJ took a walk to get to the pitcher. There are good walks and there are bad walks. That was a bad walk. It put the pitcher in a position to have to knock in a run, instead of BJ swinging the bat. A good walk is when nobody is on and you clear the pitcher in the order, not when you have a RISP chance. In the 5th, BJ took a good walk with 1 out, and Hudson promptly popped up a bunt to the pitcher for a double play. In the 7th, the Braves went first and third with nobody out. Dan Uggla couldn't make contact, Pena hit a hard liner that Freeman messed up the tag on (he would have been out anyway at the plate), and BJ flew out to right. Nada. In the 8th, Schafer got a leadoff single, then was involved in a bizarre double play where he got deeked by the middle infielders on a fly ball, and forgot to retag second base. It especially hurt since Heyward singled the next AB, which could have tied the game with the runner going.
Note, Dan Uggla finally got a hit in the 9th when we were already down by 5, which was completely meaningless. He seems to only get hits in those situations, because he's hitting .105 with RISP. He has 75 Ks on the year in June, 3rd in the MLB. The Braves have 3 guys in the top 10 in Ks, Dan, Justin, and BJ. Dan's on pace for 200 strikeouts in a season. That would be top 10 in baseball history. EVER. I'm only placated by the thought that at around 150, Fredi probably benches him as an everyday guy. Dan's not only been useless in scoring position hits, but he's also got the 2nd worst glove at 2nd base in the majors. Throw in the huge money for no production, and it's a trifecta of crap. Just when you think you've over him being terrible, you get a fresh reminder. If it sounds like I'm hating on the guy, I am. He is going to go down in Braves history as one of the worst contracts of all time. He and Mike Hampton can hold hands in that Hall of Shame.
The CPA (30-20) was wrong again because the Braves didn't score a run. Huddy held up his end of the bargain at least. What about game 2?
CPA Prediction Game 2: Dodgers 4 - Braves 2
This is an ugly matchup for the Braves. Maholm has been bad on the road, and the Dodgers lineup has a lot of experience hitting against the lefty. The high road ERA over 5.00 is a concern, but the biggest concern is the road WHIP of 1.41 by Paul. That's way too many runners to deal with in a game, and the Dodgers won't miss chances with their new boy Puig in the lineup. The other side is Ryu's 0.87 WHIP at home, meaning he likes to strangle out teams in his own yard. To win this game, the Braves will have to jump on Ryu early (something we've been terrible at), and also have Maholm get past the first 3 innings without getting touched up. Let's hope for a late night rally.