And here I thought the games would be lower scoring away from Coors Field. Turns out that taking the Rockies to Turner Field yields equally explosive results, much to the chagrin of Brandon Beachy and Jorge De la Rosa. There's a lot of things we can look at in a game that not only went extra innings, but also scored a combined 17 runs to reach a conclusion. The Braves jumped on a scoring rollercoaster after the first inning. Braves were down 5-0. Then in the 3rd inning they went up 6-5. In the next inning they dropped behind again 7-6. In the 5th inning they took the lead 8-7. Then, in the 9th inning Walden blew the save and it was tied 8-8, before Simmons knocked in Dan Uggla to win the game in the 10th, 9-8 Braves. Whew. That's a lot of lead changes in a big scoring effort.
Much was made about Beachy's return to the rotation. I hate to say it, but it was much ado about nothing. Beachy was rusty, as you should expect given his first game back in the majors, but he couldn't locate at all. As a result, the Rockies belted him all over the field for 7 runs. I don't care if you're brand new on your first day to the MLB, that's not a good start. We can't really put a qualifier on it. Those 7 runs happened in 3.2 innings, resulting in an ERA of 17.18. Now that won't last, but it still serves as a poignant reminder of how far off kilter Beachy was yesterday. This is why when everyone was screaming to get him back into the rotation and dumping a regular starter, I was scratching my head. You simply aren't going to get the Beachy you knew from 2012 right away. You can hope to see him back in 2014, but for now Beachy isn't going to be a top tier answer in this rotation. He's a 4th or 5th guy who you hope won't bury the game in the first 4 innings. With what happened yesterday for him on the mound, the game should have been over. Except...
The Braves went off at the plate. I mean just completely exploded in the 3rd inning. Any inning where the pitcher makes two outs? That's going to be a good inning. The key to the inning was an absolutely atrocious error by the Rockies third baseman with the bases loaded and one out. Gattis rapped into what could have been a double play, or at the very least an out at the plate on a force. However, Nolan Arenado for the Rockies just booted the ball. It wasn't a bad hop, it wasn't a hard play, he simply took his eye off of it. That kept the line moving, making the score 2-5. That's when Chris Johnson happened. He belted a 2 run double, then Uggla sacrificed Gattis in, and Simmons cleared CJ with a double of his own. Before you knew it, the Braves had the lead. That's how fast things turned around. It went from, "man this isn't going to be fun to watch" to "wow we got ourselves a ballgame" in the span of a half-inning.
You know how I feel about RISP hitting. This game was another fine example of how you can win games situationally. The Braves went a whopping 5-10 with RISP, and not a single homer. It can be done, and frankly it should be done that way when you're hitting well. The all-or-nothing approach has never appealed to me. Homers are great as an equalizer, but your bread and butter should be on the basepaths and moving runners. Take away a few of the 11 strikeouts yesterday, and the Braves could have won the game by 5 runs. Those Ks were luckily localized in the top half of the lineup. Even Joey Tradebait Terdoslavich stepped up with a 2/3 day. I'm sure Frank Wren is grinning ear to ear as this little showcase is playing out a lot better than the Juan Francisco "bag of donuts" trade parade. Also, another bright spot has been the defense, and they haven't surrendered an error in 4 games. I think that's a record for us this season. A lot of it has to do with Simmons and his quick double play hands over the last series and yesterday. He's been a defensive machine.
The CPA (54-35) picked the winner yesterday, although it was WAY off on the total score. Today it has a bit more data to work with.
CPA Prediction Game 2: Braves 7 - Rockies 4
The CPA likes a higher score in this game. Why not? The Braves have roughed up Nicasio in the few times they've seen him, and they love batting at Turner Field. After an 8 run day, a 7 run day seems plausible. Get out there and score some runs!