The Braves like big games on big stages. When there's a big celebration, they get up for it. I like that about this team, because it gives me a lot to reference when I think about October. You want your team to be able to win the games against the best opponents when they matter the most. Almost everything else is irrelevent. Going into this weekend, we all knew the Reds were a likely playoff team that would challenge the Braves with both their pitching staff and hitting. The Braves, and specifically your All-Star Freddie Freeman (take that ESPN!) answered the bell last night.
The Braves went off for 11 hits, 2 walks, and 6 runs with a 5-10 RISP. That's an absurd RISP number and I love it. That feeling for me is like a heating pad in a warm quilt with wool socks tucked into those handwarmer things on a 28 degree night. It's awesome. There's nothing more I love in a baseball game than having 5+ hits with RISP. Glorious. The way the Braves played last night was a testament to how this team can play when it capitalizes on chances. Justin had 3 hits, Freddie had 3 hits, Simmons had 2 hits, Heyward had a hit and then Reed replaced him and got a hit. Pretty much the entire top half of the order won the game. Then, you had McCann, Uggla, and BJ went 0-11 with 6Ks. Luckily, Freddie picked up most of the slack. He was responsible for 4 RBIs the day after getting elected to the All-Star game. Did I mention Freddie is an All-Star? ALL-STAR!
Hudson was decent, but not up to his usual form. He had a bad first inning (I wish I got a dollar every time I write that, it happens so often) so that put the Braves in a hole immediately. However, Freddie had a shovel and a plan. Huddy got dinged in the 3rd and the 5th with a couple more runs, mostly because the Braves were throwing the ball all over the place. We had 3 errors in the game and still managed to claim a win. The defense was really embarrassing, but we overcame the errors with good recoveries by Huddy, and even better hitting. Walden also danced around trouble in the 8th, giving up a single run (his first since June), but held on to get the game to Kimbrel. Craig made sure to shut the door, even after giving up a leadoff single. Braves took the game 6-5 when the dust cleared.
The best part of the game was the crowd recognizing Freddie with a standing ovation in his first AB, right before he doubled in to the gap to tie the game. That guy is fantastic. What a pure swing and great talent. He's going to do us proud in that game in NY.
The CPA (47-30) was right again, and it has a bit of a streak going. Can it keep the streak going tonight?
CPA Prediction Game 2: Braves 7 - Reds 3
The CPA expects some runs tonight, and more importantly it expects another win for the Braves. Arroyo has had major issues both with the Braves lineup AND on the road. Couple those together, and you get multiplier effect on the stats for a hot Braves team. Also, Kris loves pitching at home, and with some support he can get the job done.