Heck of a comeback last night. The Braves finally opened up their offensive playbook a little and they got the benefit of some questionable fielding by the Giants. Couple that together and you get a win for Atlanta, and a salve on a 4 game wound. The difference between yesterday's game and the ones leading up to it was simple: the Braves hit the ball with RISP. Atlanta went 4-8 with RISP, had 11 hits in the game, with 4 walks, and 2 home runs. That's more good hitting than we saw in the last 4 games combined. A lot of it had to do with 2 guys I was ready to bench for the game, Justin and BJ. Bossman Jr. went for 2 long shots with 3 RBIs, and Justin had a hit and a key walk in the 9th to score the tying run. Between them, they had 4 of the 6 RBIs for the Braves. Goes to show what I know about rostering a team day to day. Fredi had the right of it by playing a hunch, but I still question going against the matchup numbers on a consistent basis. Eventually every average catches up with you.
The starting pitching wasn't good. Mike Minor was struggling and didn't have his best stuff all day. However, even with a pitcher is struggling, if you can keep it within 4 runs, this Braves team has a chance. Mike did enough to keep it close after his 2-out disaster rally by the Giants in the 3rd inning, and again in the 5th inning. Mikes line of 6 inning, 5 runs, and 7 hits is one he's going to want to forget. The important number, however, is 8. That's how many starts in a row the Braves have won with Minor on the mound. Can he be this year's Medlen in terms of the good luck charm? I'd like to hope so, because he deserves it with his good work. The bullpen, which seems to still be on people's short list of problems for some reason, was great. They put up 3 innings of scoreless work, keeping the game close enough for the Braves to have a shot in the 9th. Just so people can get off the bullpen's back a little, they are #1 in the NL in ERA right now with a 2.81 with the next closest team 17 points back. So, relax a little. They had some issues with injuries but they are pulling it together with gusto.
One of the great things about this game was that everyone contributed everybody 1-8 touched a bag, which is completely different from the slump where only half our lineup was getting on base. Simmons had probably his worst game of the year with 2 errors, and an 0-5 batting line where he only made it on base by virtue of an error. He's still dealing with problems at the plate, and I think he's one of the guys I really wish would work counts better in the leadoff spot. I'm going to continue to harp on this, because it's his job to take pitches even when he's not hitting well. He's got to be a tough out, not a hacker. Case in point, Schafer comes in for a PH situation with only a single AB, and he got a hit before Simmons grounded into a double play on the second pitch. At some point, Greg Walker needs to get him to stop that, or he's not going to be in the leadoff position for very long.
The CPA missed again (it's in a slump as well), and it's looking to see if the Braves can win the rubber match on ESPN tonight.
CPA Predication Game 3: Braves 4 - Giants 3
The CPA likes the Braves in this game due to the fact that the previous Giants hitters that gave him trouble in SF are on the DL. Also, the Braves have hit Lincecum well at home, even though they struggled hard against him on the road. It should be a fun matchup today.