Game one was the game the bullpen let get away. Again. Want a common theme as a Braves fan this year? It's that you're sitting on pins and needles choking down whatever calming concoction you need to wait out the 6-7-8 innings of this team's pitching staff. If the starter happens to go longer, maybe you need a little less tonic. But in this game Williams Perez could only go 6 innings on 106 pitches, giving the Braves a chance to win with a 2-1 lead. Avilan couldn't hold it, though. Luis walked two batters to load the bases, and gave up a sacrifice grounded with 2 outs to tie the game. That was the small problem. The big problem was Nick Masset, who gave up not one, not two, but THREE homers in one inning to lose the game. Braves dropped it 6-3.
Game two the Braves had no shot. Kershaw was absolutely dealing, and the Dodgers could have scored just a solitary run and that would have been enough. They scored 8 runs just to make us look silly. As good as Kershaw was with his 7 innings, 4 hits, 10 Ks, and no runs, Julio Teheran was the opposite. Julio only managed 4.1 innings giving up a whopping 10 hits, 8 runs, and 3 walks. That's the bad Julio part of the TEHERAN ROLLERCOASTER EXPERIENCE 2015. It's like watching the Hawks in the playoffs. I never know who is showing up on the mound that day. Braves got smoked 8-0.
Now Game three was the game I thought we had no chance. Greinke was 5-1 with a sub-2.00 ERA. He hadn't lost a game to the Braves since the playoffs in 2013. What were the odds that the Braves could muster a victory here? Well, they were 1.65 to 1 underdogs according to Vegas, meaning a $100 bet would return $165. That's really stout for a single baseball game if you're unaware. Still, the Braves jumped on Greinke early in the first inning, and although they loaded the bases and didn't score, they drove his pitch count way up. Cameron Maybin jumped on Greinke in the 3rd inning with a monster 425 foot homer to center, but the Dodgers struck back in the 4th with a dinky infield single to score a runner from third. With the game tied 1-1, Greinke could only go 6 innings due to his pitch count, and for once the other team's bullpen blew it. With two outs and two on in the 8th, Nick Markakis was the hero as he stroked a ground rule double to left, scoring both runners. Even with a solo homer in the 9th, the Dodgers couldn't overcome the 2-run deficit, and the Braves won 3-2. Tip your cap to Alex Wood as well for keeping the game in check, and getting in line for the win.
Since we lost the series I'll just do THREE THINGS (which are neutral):
- Cameron Maybin looks good - Nobody jinx it, but Maybin is really coming on as an asset for the team, and he's on pace for one of the best seasons of his life. Maybin went 3/10 on the series with 2 runs and a homer. Plus he's slugging .435 on the season.
- Clayton Kershaw is still awesome - When that dude is on, get out of the way. I don't care what else happens, if Kershaw decides to dominate that day, you lose. He proved it in Game 2.
- Teheran isn't the Ace - Not even close. It's all Shelby Miller now. Teheran is pitching at best as a #3 guy in the rotation. At best. In reality on a winning team he'd probably be a 4 guy the way he's unable to replicate consistent starts.
Honorable mention for the MVP (since we lost and there is no MVP) is Nick Markakis. That ground rule double in the last game was the difference in the Braves getting swept. Nick is quietly hitting .312 on the season and making all the idiots who questioned his $12M a year contract look dumb. Without him, I can honestly say the Braves would be 6 games below .500 right now at the least.
Next up, the schedule gets no easier with 4 games in San Francisco. That means more late nights for Braves Country. Pound that coffee.