The weekend at the lake turned out to be mostly a rain-soaked affair, but the Braves went to Philly for a couple of games that provided the fireworks we missed. Game 1 was the type of game that all Braves fans really hate deep down. The Braves were down 5-0 before they even got more than a single man to second base in that matchup, and then they got close enough to give the fans hope in the 7th, just before collapsing under a multitude of poorly timed strikeouts and foul outs. Game 2 was anything but poorly timed hitting. In fact, the Braves scored so many runs the game actually became boring. Still I'll take a boring 13-4 laugher over a close loss any day of the week. At least that evens out the series so we have a rubber game today at 1:35.
I don't really think we should focus on game 1 for a couple of reasons. The first is that we intentionally rotated the order in our pitching rotation to give us a bad matchup. With Cliff Lee going, it was almost like the Braves waved the white flag by pitting Maholm against him. Also, the Braves pulled Brian McCann out intentionally, even though he had to play due to Laird disagreeing with Angel Hernandez about calls behind the plate. If you know anything about umps, there are two names you do not want to see in a game, Angel Hernandez and CB Bucknor. Both are horrible and will draw the ire of both fanbases in the same game. Both will ruin analysis because they simply don't call a fair game. Both basically make me disregard anything I see in the game because nobody can really consider it baseball when they ump. It's a bastardization of a game that's only fit to feed the ego of the powers that be in MLB umpiring, and a wonder they haven't been fired several times over for their incompetence. So in that regard, forget about Game 1. The Braves did immediately when it was over.
Game 2 was about everything clicking at once. When it happens, this lineup is unbeatable. Every single player including the pitcher Hudson got a hit. Considering our success in the past off Kendrick, this wasn't a huge shock. It was a much better matchup to have Huddy out there over Maholm, and it made the game a joke after the 5th when Huddy had allowed only a single run. The good news was that after months of getting no run support, Hudson saw the Braves unleash the fury like Mitch from Road Trip. Can I even recap all the offense in an adequate way? Not really, but I'll give it a shot. If you knew only one thing, the fact the Braves went 7-19 (.368) with RISP would be a good indicator of our winning chances. The Braves also hit 3 doubles, a triple, 3 homers, 2 sacrifices, 5 2-out RBIs, and struck out only 4 times on the day. I do get amused when we score these massive run totals with such few strikeouts, because I can hear those sabermetrics guys grinding their teeth waiting for a fight. Let's just say I'll take putting the ball in play over not putting it play and we'll let the chips fall with this lineup. I have a feeling I'll get the results I'm looking for.
Really, it was great to see the Braves lineup take a few shots at the national media who basically give our team absolutely no respect in terms of All-Stars. Nevermind the fact that our team has the 2nd best ERA as a staff in the majors. Nevermind that we have a first baseman who is top 10 in batting average in the NL. Nevermind that we have an 8 game winner with a WHIP of 1.08 in Mike Minor. Nope, we get one guy. As a division leader, the only guy we're sending is Craig Kimbrel. It's frankly nothing but regional politics against our team, and the fact that nobody respects our TV market at all. Why? Well we're owned by a media company that is a direct competitor of ESPN and their partners, including Time Warner Cable, which just happens to carry the Dodgers and Newcorp/FOX, which just happens to own the rights to the Yankees network and Boston who has ties back to ABC through it's chairman Werner. In essence, there is no reason for other networks who have a larger coverage area to promote Atlanta baseball, or its players. And thus, we lose to the self-promotion of a young guy like Puig of the Dodgers, simply because he has a national mouthpiece in ESPN and Time Warner.
Enough of that, though. Let's look at today's match.
CPA Prediction Game 3: Braves 3 - Phillies 2
The Braves are hitting the ball well, and the Phillies aren't. Pettibone hasn't seen the Braves before, nor have they seen him by proxy, but this is the right time and place to test the theory of newbie droughts by our lineup. Philly will be looking for blood after getting embarrassed, so Medlen will have to be on his toes. If the Braves can get through the first 3 innings with no damage from Kris, the CPA likes our chances in a tight one.