|Freeman got married, has other things on his mind|
Look, it wasn't a good road trip. The Braves lost 2 of 3 against the Phillies, and it was almost entirely due to bad defense and pitching. That's what is so confusing, since defense and pitching is usually one of the hallmarks of the Braves franchise for the last 20 years. Yet, after starting so wonderfully and really firing on all cylinders in the field, the Braves started committing errors. Lots of them. Six in this series alone.
Game one was a pitcher's duel in the most frustrating way possible. For 8 full innings, neither team could score. What made it frustrating was the fact the Braves weren't hitting either. Alex Wood did an admirable job, but still only went 5.2 innings, and I'm starting to question if he will be able to go really deep in games early this year when we need them the most. The Braves only had 2 hits the entire freaking game, and that's not going to get the job done unless they are homers. The team as a whole committed FOUR errors in this game alone, and the last error helped the Phillies score a walk-off run as Freddy Galvis scampered home from third on an infield grounder that Freddie Freeman booted.
Game two looked like it was going to be more of the same as the Braves offense struggled to do anything for six innings. Ryan Howard blasted a homer in the 4th inning to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead, and things looked bleak. But the Braves aren't the kind of team to just go into a shell over a small deficit this year. They struck back in the 7th with a solo homer by Simmons, then Gomes and Kelly Johnson walked with two outs. Needing a two out rally, Chris Johnson came up huge. CJ got a single up the middle to tie the game at 2-2, then EYJ doubled to left to take the lead 3-2. The Braves would tack on 2 more in the 8th to win 5-2, getting Shelby Miller another win (he's 3-0 now).
Game three was another Trevor Cahill disappointment. The Braves came out firing in the game, taking a quick 2-0 lead on a Jace Peterson 2-out RBI single. Then Cahill immediately gave up a 3-run Howard bomb in the bottom half of the first. I was so pissed off. Why? Because A - Howard did this in game two, why in the world are we pitching to him with a base open in game 3, and B - Come on Cahill you finally get a lead, and you do THAT? It's ridiculous. Trevor Cahill is getting paid $5.5M by the Braves to carry the 192nd ERA amongst pitchers in the NL. That's ridiculous. The Braves gave up a key unearned run late thanks to another Freddie Freeman error, and that was the difference since Callaspo hit a solo shot in the 9th. Braves lost 5-4 and lost the series.
I think after last week I'm going to stick with a theme. When the Braves win a series, it's 3 things I liked. When they lose a series it's 3 things I hated. People say hate is a strong word. Well, you don't come to Braves by the Numbers for weaksauce limp-handshake half-opinions. So suck it up buttercup.
Three Things I Hated:
- Trevor Cahill's contract - I don't hate Cahill, I hate the money. Because I guarantee you one thing, if it wasn't for the fact that Cahill was making $5.5M this year, his 8.03 ERA butt would be riding the bus in the Mexican Leagues.
- Freddie Freeman's disappearing defense - What the hell, Freddie? Seriously? Freeman had 5 errors total last season. He had TWO in this series, and they were both absolutely game-killers. I can have my best player booting the ball around like he's playing for Manchester United. Get it together, Smalls.
- Pitchers not going deep - I'm not asking for much. I'm just asking for our starters to give me at least 7+ innings once in a while. Just once a series maybe. Nope, everybody went 6 innings or less in this series, which means the bullpen had ANOTHER 9+ innings of work put on them. The guys are overworked and stressed enough. To their credit, the bullpen gave up no EARNED runs. Freddie. Hint hint.
The NBI (Needs Big Improvement) award goes to Freddie Freeman. Not just for his defense, as I've harped on that enough. You know what Freddie is hitting this season? A .235 average. If he wasn't slugging so well, he'd be a disaster at the plate right now. And you know what I blame it on? He got married in the off-season. I don't care what anybody says, I'd love to see the stats on guys the season after they get married. Makes em soft I tells ya.
Next up, the Braves take on the slumping Nationals back in Turner Field. Braves have lost 5 of 6. The Nationals have lost 5 in a row. Something has to give. Go get em, boys.