We lost a series to the Marlins because it rained. The Braves were intent on getting this thing in because they would lose tons of money if the games were cancelled due to rain. However, as we saw in the Mets series, this team doesn't play well in adverse conditions. As a result, the Braves got washed away in the 2 games under stormy skies.
Pitching was honestly the biggest problem. In Game 2 the staff gave up 9 hits, 4 walks, and a homer. In game 3, they gave up 10 hits, 6 walks, and a homer. You can't pitch around that many baserunners all day. The Marlins may have stranded a combined 20 runners in those two games, but they still had enough chances to push across a combined 10 runs. That's not good pitching at all, it it feel for the most part on the starters not having good games. Minor and Teheran both weren't sharp at all. Minor couldn't keep the ball down, and Teheran was going deep into counts over and over again. Neither went more than 6 innings against a team that is supposed to be dreadful at hitting the ball.
The Braves had 10 hits in game 2 and went 2-6 with RISP. That's actually not bad, but it wasn't enough to cover up Minor's mistakes. In Game 3, they went 1-4 with RISP and never got a runner to second base after the first inning's onslaught of 3 runs. When you spot your starter a 3 run lead in the first, and then watch him bleed it away over the next 3 innings, that has to be demoralizing. To be honest, I think the Braves didn't want to play these games. I think they believed (like I did) that there was no way this rain was going to let up, and that they would just call this off for another day. However, the front office wasn't going to allow that to happen on a holiday weekend, and we all suffered for it. I think by now we should know that given the choice between playing a rain-soaked game or delaying it to a better day, we should take the delay if we want to win.
Some good news is that Brian McCann is coming around after a horrible June. Right now he's batting .417 on the week with 2 homers. Chris Johnson is right with him batting .450 on the week, and Freddie Freeman is batting .409. Simmons and Heyward both have .308 averages for the week as well. So how in the world are we not blowing the cover off the ball? Oh right, because we have those rally killing turnstiles Dan Uggla and BJ Upton batting .208 and .188 on the week right there in the 6-7 slots. Who was it that struck out to end the game last night with a runner on? BJ of course.
Now the Braves head up to Philly. They have a 3 gamer over the weekend on the road against a Philly team that's just a game over .500 at home. I'm heading to the lake today at noon, so I'll do a quick preview of the series here instead of the full blown analysis.
Game 1 - Hudson v. Lee: This is likely loss for the Braves the way Cliff Lee pitches, but Justin Upton does have some decent numbers off him. Still, I wouldn't put my money on this one with Huddy's runs support woes.
Game 2 - Maholm v. Kenrick: Maholm has been racking up wins while Kendrick is coming off a mild concussion. This looks to be an advantage for the Braves who have a career .264 off Kendrick as a lineup. However, the Phillies hit .323 lifetime off Maholm. This could get ugly.
Game 3 - Medlen v. Pettibone: Kris has been grinding out wins for the last month without the benefit of his best stuff. Pettibone got his first win in over a month in his last outing against the Pirates. The big difference here? Braves have never seen Pettibone ever. Until proven otherwise, that typically means we lose.
None of the matchups look great for the Braves, I'll be honest. I'd like to take Game 1 and see where we are, but it's going to be a war either way.
CPA Prediction Game 1: Phillies 4 - Braves 1
The CPA thinks Cliff Lee is simply better than most pitchers we're faced, with good reason. He's 9-2 with a WHIP under 1.00 and an ERA of 2.59. He hasn't lost a home game since April. Meanwhile he's facing our tough luck loser Hudson who can't buy a run. We'll need to know Cliff out early by working counts and maybe getting him to hang a few breaking balls.