The Braves played another terrible road game to finish the series with the Phillies on Sunday. It wasn't pretty, it wasn't good, and it wasn't even close. Kris Medlen continued to shoot himself in the foot in the early innings, and that set the stage for a 7-3 beatdown. I knew the Phillies would be out for blood after a bad day at the office on Saturday, but I expected more from the Braves hitters. Brian McCann is a blazing inferno at the plate, and he went 3/4 in the game after going 4/5 the night before. It's amazing to watch him come out of his June swoon, but not so amazing to watch Dan and BJ do absolutely nothing behind him.
The Braves went 2-13 with RISP. We don't win those games. We had 10 hits, but only strung a few together, and Medlen was forced to knock in the first run himself because BJ and CJ struck out in a row with runners on 2nd and 3rd and nobody out. I hate how uneven this team can be with runners on and nobody out. In scenarios were it should be an obvious run-scoring situation, it almost always seems like BJ or Dan are coming to the plate. There are literally pitchers on our team with better RISP averages than BJ or Dan this season. They are killing this team's chances with their lack of contact or hits in key situations. Also, Justin has completely fallen off the face of the earth. He hit .225 in June, and now he's hitting .222 in July. In fact, in the last six games, half the lineup (BJ, Dan, Justin, Jason) are all batting under .225. You can't have half your team sucking wind like that and hope to win games. As a result we're bleeding out in the standings, up only 4 games with the Nats smelling blood.
You can't panic yet before the All-Star break, but we are going to see what this team is made of in July. Are we the kind of team who rallies and starts to man up at the plate, cut down on strikeouts, and stops all the complaining about ump calls? Or are we the team that goes to pieces and lets the rest of the division come back to the mean? I can't say for sure, because the team is so bipolar on home and road games. The Braves at home are one of the best teams in baseball. The Braves on the road are a completely unpredictable stress typhoon. That makes it even more important for the Braves to win the division so they have home field advantage in the post-season.
Now we head down to Miami for a 3 gamer with the Marlins, a team that was just swept by the Cardinals. Series Preview up next.