Vanilla strikes again. The mediocre Padres continue to bewilder the Braves bats. I'm not sure what exactly went wrong with Tim Hudson for the first three innings, but he locked it down for the last 5. Too bad that a 2 run hole was apparently insurmountable for our offense. Braves go 1-6 with RISP, they only get 7 baserunners, and the whole thing was about as boring as you're ever going to see. These games have been wretched. Not only are they uninteresting from an offensive standpoint, you just get the sense that the Braves could care less about being there. They want to be done with this stupid west coast trip, and it shows up in the box scores.
The back half of the lineup went to sleep. The 6-9 guys went hitless with Huddy laying down a sacrifice, and BJ getting a walk. Otherwise, nothing. BJ came the closest with a long long drive a foot shy of leaving the ballpark, but you can't win games with warning track power. The Braves continue to look completely clueless against pitchers they've never faced before. It's very obvious that if you want to win a game against this team, throw the young kid they've never seen. It's almost a guarantee. The top half of the lineup went 6 for 20, so they did a good job. However, only Freddie Freeman seems to be clutch right now. Best chance of the game? Runners first and third with nobody out. Freddie had his first bad AB in a while and grounded into a double play. A sac-fly would have been so huge there, because Bmac then hit a single next. That likely would have tied the game without the double play because Justin would have been at third with only one out. As it stood, Dan Uggla grounded out next AB and it amounted to nothing.
Hudson was extremely shaky early before he went into Hudson mode. The real problem in the first three innings was allowing leadoff runners. That combined with a Chase Headley homer sealed our doom. It's not that Hudson didn't pitch well, it's just that he's had a problem getting out of the early innings. The worst part was the Braves gave him a rare first inning run and the lead. That promptly went bye-bye after Headley's bomb. 7.1 innings, 3 runs, 1 walk, 5 hits, and Tim takes the loss. Doesn't really seem fair, but that's the road for you. You can't hand other teams the early lead on the road and hope for the best. Relying on late rallies is not a good strategy, I'll say that over and over again.
It's June 12th today, and here are some stats on how the Braves are playing this month against the 29 other teams. They are 12th in runs scored, 22nd in batting average, 8th in OBP, 10th in slugging, 5th in Ks, 3rd in sacrifices, 3rd in PH batting average, and 3rd in fewest ABs per homer. What do we take away from that? Well, for starters our batting average is terrible, and that's because we're striking out a ton. This team is obviously swinging for the fences in June and failing horribly at the small things. However, they are taking a lot of walks to go with the Ks, and our pinch hitters are on fire right now. How's our RISP average though? 28th in the league on the season. We're behind the Cubs, the Dodgers, the Astros, the Mets, and the Marlins in RISP hitting. Does that sound like a bunch of playoff teams to you? We have to fix that, or we're not going anywhere in the post-season. The long ball is way too streaky, and you can't rely on that providing all your offense against the league's best pitchers.
The CPA (32-21) accurately predicted the Braves would struggle in game 2. Now we have a chance to salvage a .500 road record with a win in Game 3, or suffer an embarrassing sweep.
CPA Prediction Game 3: Braves 7 - Padres 4
The CPA expects a lot of runs in this one. Both starters don't like facing the other lineup, both have inflated ERAs in the location, and both are likely to put people on base. In a battle of whose bat is bigger, the Braves should set the tone. The key player in this game will be Justin Upton. He's been cold of late, but his career numbers against Volquez are a red hot .584 batting average with 4 doubles. He needs to come up big in this one.