After this weekend, I think we can all say one thing is for certain. The Braves are playing great baseball when it's not a day game. Friday and Saturday, the Braves won each game with furious bouts of good pitching, and in the case of Saturday BJ Upton decided to emerge from his shell for a weekend while he took over a game. Chalk up one for the struggling BJ since we wouldn't have won that game without him. Then, they lost 7-0 on Sunday day game where they just removed several starters about midway through because they realized it just doesn't matter right now when you have a huge lead in both the division and the NL. Oh, and when the Mets came to town yesterday? They smoked them with the big bats and Freddie Freeman.
What's the most important takeaway from these games? Well I'd say that it's the Braves ability to get things done when they know they have a huge lead and no real reason to give 100% effort. They are still fighting day in and day out to win games, and with the exception of the complete disaster that was Sunday afternoon, they did just that. Game 1 only netted 5 hits total for the Braves, but they pitching of Julio Teheran carried the day with 6.1 innings of 1 run work, followed by a shutout bullpen performance. The whole reason they won that game was Freddie Freeman's 2 run homer at the beginning, and after that, the lineup just rested. In Game 2, CJ and BJ had 4 hits each in a game that was almost entirely dominated by those two guys, including BJ's walkoff single in the 11th to win the game. They went 1-8 with RISP in Game 3 and scored nobody, so I won't really bother recapping much about that one. Wood had a horrible day and it showed up big in the box score. He went only 2.1 innings with 7 runs and 8 hits. Then, yesterday Freddie Freeman hit a homer and a double for 5 RBIs against the Mets, and the Braves went an astounding 8-20 with RISP in a game where they scored 13 runs to win.
The magic number continues to fall down to miniscule 11 now, and nobody is even worried about it anymore. By the time we actually clinch, it will be a ho-hum, foregone conclusion. Now everyone just wants to know when we clinch homefield. It's probably the best feeling as a Braves fan that we've felt in a long while, because this is what it was like for so many years as we just beat the rest of the division about the head and neck in September. Tonight the Braves continue this series against the Mets with Torres going against Medlen. Let's see what the CPA thinks about the matchup.
CPA Prediction Game 2: Braves 4 - Mets 3
Medlen may give up a couple of runs, but Torres hasn't won on the road yet, and we're not going to let him start now. Simmons and Bmac both really enjoy hitting off this guy so look for both of them to have good nights against the righty Torres.