I hate recapping series like this, because we came into it expecting to beat a bad team, and we left with a losing series at home. I can't tell if it was just because the Braves were only in town for a short while, so they were fatigued? Or if they just didn't have the same focus they've had in other games? Whatever it was, the product on the field wasn't up to par, and they should start to feel a little heat. We're running out of games to start kicking this thing back into high gear, and right now I don't feel like this is a team that can beat a hot squad. We'll find out with this series against Washington because there's nobody hotter in baseball right now.
Game 1 was the bullpen blowing it. Plain and simple. David Hale had a gem going for 5 innings of shutout ball, and the bullpen completely lost it. Ayala and Walden both gave up 2 runs in 2 innings apiece, and that gave up a 3-0 nothing Braves lead, turning it into a 4-3 Braves loss. Now, the bullpen has been mostly fantastic all year, so we can't really complain when they blow a single game, however, it doesn't mean we have to like it. Still, the Braves had 5 hits and 3 runs, but on 0-4 with RISP. They were lucky to get that many runs on so few hits, because offensively they didn't have it. Once again, it was one big inning that plated all 3 runs, and the rest of the game they were totally ineffective. Freeman, Justin, and BMac had the hits, 2 of them homers. Everyone else? Goose egg. That can't happen this far into the season. We need more from these guys against bad teams to close the door. If it happens AFTER we clinch? Fine, I can live with that. I just don't like how lazy we seem at the plate right now, and it's showing up in the box scores.
Game 2 was the same story, except the pitching didn't let us down. Braves had 9 hits, 2 runs, and went 2-8 with RISP. Not fantastic, and certainly could have been another losing line, but Medlen was dazzling. He went 7.1 innings with only 4 hits and no runs. He was lights out on the Padres, and the only run they collected was off Kimbrel, who finally gave up a homer before closing the door on a 2-1 win. This is the pitching we'd need in the playoffs, which is a little scary. I'm not sure Medlen can be shutout on against a team like the Cardinals, but if the Braves bats aren't firing, he may have to be. The big key in this game offensively was Freddie going yard, and having a 3/3 day with a walk. He's been one of the few guys on the team who day in and day out gets the job done. If we could populate a roster with 8 Freemans, we'd win the World Series in a sweep.
Game 3 was a 4 hit, no run disaster. 0-6 with RISP, and Teheran got rocked for 4 runs after pitching 5 innings of shutout ball. Frankly, if the Braves had put anything up on the board, we may have taken him out and put in the bullpen. What ended up happening is Julio lingering in a tie game for one too many innings, and getting lit up. CJ, Freeman, and Justin had the hits along with Juilo himself. The rest of the lineup? GOOSE EGG. Oh look, BJ played and went 0-3, that's nice. He's had 1 hit in 8 games. Can we just declare him a failure this season yet and wait until next year? Or do we have to continue to pretend he might make it into a playoff game? He won't. Fredi G isn't that stupid.
The Nats are up next, and I'll have a preview up next. We're looking at some weird stuff with a shooting in Washington right now, so I'm not sure what that means for the game, or for the city in general. Stay posted.