Kris Medlen imploded in the 6th inning after the Braves had squandered numerous opportunities. I like to think he had just simply had enough of their offensive ineptitude. His arm knew the game was going nowhere and just decided to go home. The loss itself sends the yo-yo fans into a tizzy because OH NOES WE LOST A GAME WE CAN'T HIT WE CAN'T WIN IN THE PLAYOFFS WAAAAAAAAAAH! Please. I'm getting tired of that attitude. First, you don't know what's going to happen in the playoffs because it's over 2 months away. The entire roster could get bird flu and be quarantined. You just don't know. Second, how many road series have you watched at this point? Is there any indication in almost a hundred games that this team is going to have a winning road trip? No? Then stop crying. We're 7 games up in the standings and we've never been winning on the road since April. Let it go. Everything will work out if you continue to dominate at home and tick days off the calendar.
As for the game itself, it was your vintage prepackaged "Braves Strand Runners Model-12A with Kung-Fu Grip." I've seen this game 20+ times so far at least. I'm done letting it bother me. In the immortal words of Denny Green, "They are who we thought they were." These Braves strike out a ton, they don't make good contact when they have to with runners on at times, and they are wildly inconsistent game to game. Live with it. Love the highs and ride out the lows. Here's the damage: The Braves got 7 hits, 3 walks, and only a single run. They went a paltry 1-8 with RISP. Justin and Freddie went 0-8 in the middle of the lineup. Dan Uggla got 2 hits, and was the only guy to have a multi-hit game. That's what drives you bananas about Uggla, his hits come in times when you don't need them. However, the moment he comes up with runners on base? EL FOLDO! He's now .141 with RISP, and .125 with RISP and 2 outs. He's a black hole of clutch hitting.
Simmons in the leadoff spot continues to take the wrong approach. I don't mind that he hit a home run, but that's not his role in the game. He's supposed to be shortening up and getting on base by any means necessary. As a result, when he had a chance with runners on in the second inning, he flew out to left on the 2nd pitch swinging. He's swinging for the fences like he's a cleanup hitter, and we have him sitting at leadoff with one of the worst on-base numbers on the team. Seriously, and I'm not making this up at all, you would rather have Dan Uggla in the leadoff spot than Simmons. He's got a better on-base, and he's only stolen 4 less bases. That's how bad Simmons is in that position. For a guy that has good speed, he should be focusing on beating out bunts, grounders, and taking balls the other way. Instead he's completely pull happy trying to ambush the first pitch into the stands. It's frustrating to watch because he does it regardless of the situation on the basepaths. I want him out of that slot.
Medlen blew up in the 6th, and it really didn't matter. That Braves were only going to score a single run, so the game wasn't decided by the pitching. Medlen did an admirable job of holding the Mets to one run through half the game, and he was rewarded with a solo home run on the first batter and nothing more. Thanks guys. Kris is going to develop a complex about his run support soon. He'll have to check into a clinic where they show him videos of the Braves getting hits until he can stop waking up in the night screaming. Can you imagine having to pitch a game where you know for a certainty that if you give up a run you're likely getting a no-decision at best? Awful. The one good thing I can take away from this game is that he didn't give up any runs in the first two innings, and that was a major problem of his prior starts. If he can get past that, and the Braves can stop treating him like the red-headed stepchild of run help, then maybe he can get on track. Otherwise, maybe this is just the baseball gods evening out things from last season's overwhelming success. They are generously cruel like that.
The CPA was wrong last night, so it looks tonight at a game where Hudson is pitching. Without even running the numbers, I can bet it's going to predict there will be some runs, since both these pitchers have struggled lately. Let's see.
CPA Prediction Game 3: Braves 6 - Mets 4
The game goes high scoring according to the CPA, no shock there. Both pitchers have bad splits at the location, but Hudson has done a better job historically against the Mets lineup than Hefner. If the Braves want to split the series, this is the best chance because it's a hot throwing Wheeler vs our rookie Wood in a day game anchor on Thursday.