Sorry for the delay everyone, I've been totally focused on a CPA conference that I was at for the last few days. In the meantime the Braves decided to go ahead and do this:
Yeeeeeeah, it's our good buddy the brooms! What a sweep of the Indians this week, and it came for the most part on behalf of the excellent Braves arms in the rotation. Game 1 was a 2-0 shutout led by Alex Wood. Game 2 was a 3-2 walkoff win by CJ with the 9th inning homer. And Game 3 was a 3-1 win courtesy of another dominant performance by Kris Medlen. Since the Braves only combined for 7 runs of total offense, it's almost unheard of that we would have come away with a sweep of the series, however it was a throwback to the days of the 90s when pitching ruled the day, and fresh young faces were the reason for clutch wins.
The Braves are a team of walking wounded at the moment. There's nothing to be done about Heyward until well after the season is over, so we're forced to play a makeshift outfield of the Uptons and various filler pieces. Even now, Justin had to leave the game with a hand injury from last night, so he is day to day even though nothing is broken. That's going to mean more time for guys like Joey Terdoslavich, BJ, and Schafer, and possibly Evan Gattis if they decide to ever let him play again. Seriously, I know he's been slumping during August, but he's not going to get better by not even letting him get in some PH attempts. He hasn't played a game now in over a week.
Some heroes of the series? Chris Johnson gets a nod for his walkoff homer obviously in game 2. Elliot Johnson gets a nice recognition for being the only guy who seemed to be able to clutch hit in Game 1, along with Wood going 5.2 of shutout ball. And BMac put up all the runs the Braves needed with a 3 run bomb in Game 3. That's pretty much it. This wasn't a week of stats, as much as it was a week of survival so far. Simmons probably had the best overall OBP with his 3/9 and a walk over the series, but the rest of the Braves were pretty spotty at getting on the bases. Only 21 hits happened in the entire series, and that's about what the Braves plate in 2 good games. That explains why the pitching was so necessary.
And the pitching was great from top to bottom. Wood only gave up 5 hits in 5.2 innings, Maholm gave up 6 and a run in his 6 innings, and Medlen gave up 6 with no runs and no walks in his 7 innings. Add into the fact the bullpen was pretty great: 2 runs in 8.1 innings, only one of which gave up the lead in the 8th when Avilan got into a jam in Game 2. Then the Braves won it in the 9th, so it didn't matter. That's the ham and egging when had going on this weekend. Even when the pitching faltered, the hitting came through just enough to cover up the mistakes.
Next up is the weekend series over a long holiday weekend. I expect most of you, like myself, will be traveling or doing fun stuff. We play a very bad Miami team at home. I'm going to forgoe the weekend series preview for a couple of reasons. One, I'm getting on a plane in like 7 hours and I'm already on mountain time. Two, it's the Marlins. We have no real reason to drop a game to this team, although we likely will due to the half-injured roster we're tossing out there. So here's the mini-preview: Minor, Teheran, and Wood (3 of your best right now) are going against Jose Fernandez (actually good) and two guys from the Marlins with 5 combined wins. Game, set, match. Just score some runs and we'll be fine.
CPA Prediction Game 1: Marlins 4 - Braves 1
CPA Prediction Game 2: Braves 4 - Marlins 1
CPA Prediction Game 3: Braves 2 - Marlins 0
The first game seems to be an issue because the Braves struggle with Fernandez, and because Teheran had imploded at times against the Marlins. The second game should be a whitewash in favor of the Braves if Minor is remotely on his game. The third is a going to be a battle, and I like our chances with Wood, plus the Marlins can't seem to do much against him. The main reason it's questionable in scoring is this is the perfect place to dump in the backups for a roster.