People are starting to panic. I'll say this about what happened yesterday, it was a terrible display of baseball. The Braves are playing like crap right now, and we all know it. The Nationals are playing their best baseball of the season and we know that too. If we were involved in a really tight race that depended on this series in order establish a lead, we'd be totally screwed.
But we're not involved in a close race. The magic number is 4, and there are 11 games left. If we get swept by the Nationals, I don't care. If we get swept by the Cubs and the Nats win out? Then you can start to get nervous. Otherwise, we just need to focus on what we know how to do, and that's making good contact and getting guys in with RISP. One of the reasons we lost this double header is because the Braves went 1-14 across both games with RISP. In fact, they've gone 6-54 with RISP in their last 7 games. That's a .111 average for those of you scoring at home. That's beyond dreadful, pushing the needle into nausea-inducing.
In Game 1 the Braves actually plated some runs, mostly off the homer. Bang or bust, it's what we saw when the first big slump came around in late April and early May. The most shocking part of our RISP slump was that the only guy in this game who has a RISP hit was Dan freaking Uggla. That should tell you something about how the rest of these guys are swinging it. Good for Dan though. Just don't think that means you get a playoff start, buckaroo. Gattis came through with a big 2 run homer late in the game to give the Braves a 4-3 lead, and an error by the Nats made it 5-3. However, Kimbrel was not the save machine we are used to, and he couldn't find the handle on any of his pitches. As a result, he walked 2 guys, gave up a hit and an error on Simmons, and the game was over with the Nats scoring 3 times. Craig only recorded a single out. It was hit worst outing of the year in my mind, and it just happened to come at a time where we could have used the push.
In Game 2, we didn't hit at all. Plain and simple. Garcia got into some trouble, but navigated it well to hold the damage to just a run for his tenure in the game. So the Braves only trailed 1-0 for 7 innings of baseball. Unfortunately, they only had 5 hits all day. Some guys are absolutely dead weight right now at the dish on the week. Here's a few guys that are on milk cartons. Jordan Schafer is hitting .067 in 6 games. BJ Upton is hitting .087 in 12 ABs. Evan Gattis is hitting .103, but he has 2 homers in 7 games. BMac is hitting .133 with a homer in 4 games. Also, Simmons is hitting .227 with only 1 run scored. Right now, Elliot and Chris Johnson, Justin Upton, and Freddie Freeman are carrying this team. If not for them, the Braves wouldn't have even won the 2 games they won.
I hate to say it, but we're the 24th ranked team in average this week in the majors, and that's not going to cut it for a playoff club. It sure as Hell doesn't cut it for a team that wants to win the NL outright. We have to stop hanging our heads and start making good contact. We have to stop chasing early in counts and start working pitchers into favorable situations. We need to slow down and stop pressing. We're the ones in the lead. We're the ones holding the top spot. We don't need to worry or panic, and we certainly don't need to grind it at the plate. That's what I want the attitude to be when we play tonight against the Nats.
The CPA was 1-1 on the double header, and now it looks at the rubber game. Will the Braves snap out of it in time to salvage a game and some of the fan's sanity?
CPA Prediction Game 3: Braves 4 - Nats 2
The CPA thinks they will turn it on today. Ohlendorf has struggled with the Braves hitters in the past, and he hasn't faced them this season, nor has he faced Freeman ever in his career. I think Freddie will relish the chance to take a game back from the Nats, and I think the lineup is getting pissed off about all the negative talk. Let's hope they can push some lumber on these fools and take the magic number to 2.