A win? Some runs? A grand slam? These are a few of my favorite things. Paul Maholm was the lucky recepient of an early 4 run lead in the game on Sunday, as well as the beneficiary of 3 more runs to seal the win in a 7-4 final. Early in the game, I thought we were going to blow a bases loaded scenario with 2 outs, but Brian McCann finally came up large after a month of languishing in a slump. Once that happened, the floodgates were open, and the Braves could relax a little.
The Braves had 14 hits, 7 runs, 4 walks, 7 Ks, and saw 173 pitches. They also went a lackluster 3-13 with RISP, made better by the two homers. Braves hit homers, Braves win. Braves score first, Braves win. Do both? It's almost impossible for the Braves to lose. I'd like to spotlight one guy who's been ripping it up, and that's Jordan Schafer. He went 4/5 yesterday with a double and a homer. In the month of June he's hitting .323 with an OBP over .400. He's been hotter than hot at the plate in the leadoff spot, and that's why Fredi is trying his best to get him into games. The wrist injury to Justin, who has been struggling, provided an easy solution to that problem. That probably won't last, but I think that as long as Jordan is getting on base, Fredi is going to try to get him in games in every series. Right now, Schafer, CJ, and Freddie are your top 3 hitters on the team.
Tim Hudson had to look at the grand slam fly out of the ballpark and think, "Really? Now you do that? Now? That would have been helpful YESTERDAY!" Paul Maholm just had to go out there and throw strikes with a 4-0 early lead. He did just that, with 5 innings and only 1 walk. He did get into trouble occasionally and he did give up 4 runs in the 5th. However, at that point the game was already 6-4 and he didn't give up the lead. Was it a great performance? Absolutely not. But it was enough to get the job done with the offensive output we had that day. As the hitting goes, so does the Braves win column. It's fairly evident every game, now.
Five players had multi-hit games. Every starter touched a base. That's the kind of production we need every single night in order to win. For the 2 game series we have with KC after the off-day, the Braves are going to have to put up runs. Why? The Royals this year are not the whipping boy they've been in the past. In fact, they have scored more runs on the season than any of the Braves opponents in the NL East. Speaking of those opponents, the Braves only dropped a single game in the standings with all their losing, so it's a 6 games lead now on the Nats. Washington has a tough 2 gamer with Arizona before we face against the Dbacks in the weekend series. That should be an interesting one to watch.
Enjoy the off-day from baseball. Use the time to check up on Wimbledon, or the College World Series, or whatever happens to be on your DVR. Then, on Tuesday, we're back to regularly scheduled baseball.