I'm going to start combining the recaps and the previews together when the Braves finish a series with no break in between, because honestly there's no reason to put two articles out on the same day when I'm doing the typing anyway. So enjoy a new combined version of BRAVES AREN'T THAT TERRIBLE ON THIS ROAD TRIP WHEEEEEEEEEE!
First two games in SF? Total offensive garbage. Miller pitched great in Game 1, but the offense awarded him with no runs, and we're all dumber for having watched the bullpen give up 6 runs in the 8th inning. May God have mercy on our souls if that continues all year. Game 2 was closer, but again the offense put up a grand total of 1 run against a struggling Tim Hudson, and the bullpen imploded in the 8th inning for 2 runs.
Second two games in SF? Total offensive miracles. In the third game, Williams Perez threw a freaking 7 inning shutout, which is absurd for a guy that just got up here, and the Braves tacked on 8 runs courtesy of 14 hits. Peterson, Maybin, Uribe, and Simmons all had multi-hit games. Uribe hit a homer and a double. Peterson hit a triple and a double, not to be confused with a basketball triple-double. The team was 6-17 with RISP, so it could have been even uglier.
Then the final game happened. You can usually count the memorable games in a season on one hand when it comes to MLB regular season games. The MLB regular season is the fun background noise to your summer life. It's there, and you love it for the time you watch it, but you almost immediately forget it a week later. Only the exceptionally bad and the exceptionally good stand out when you look backwards. This final game will stand the test of time as one of the defining games in this Braves season, I have no doubt.
Julio Teheran looked awful. He was giving up bomber shots to right field, and already down 2-0 in the 2nd with velocity in the high 80s, and a confused look on his face. But somehow Julio stopped the bleeding and went on to pitch 6 innings giving up only 3 runs. Meanwhile, the offense was going nowhere until the 5th inning when they broke through on a Chris Johnson single that scored Jonny Gomes. Then the real fun began. Juan Uribe jacked a no-doubter home run to left field off MadBum, and the Giants found themselves down 3-2. But remember, the bullpen is terrible and Fredi G inexplicably went to Donnie Veal in the 7th, who gave up 3 runs and made it 5-3 Giants. I was pissed. There was no reason to give the game away like that.
But lo, the impossible happened. The Braves rallied in the 9th inning. It started with a 1-out homer by Freddie Freeman who came in off the bench. That would make it 5-4 Giants. Then, Simmons walked. C-Beth hit into a for-sure-inning-ending-double-play, but Brandon Belt booted the ball, and all hands were safe. That would prove enormous since AJ came up with a bloop single to load the bases. With everything on the line, it was young Jace Peterson that laced a liner right past the center fielder, clearing the bases with a triple, and giving the Braves a 7-5 win after Grilli got the save. It was an epic finish against the defending World Champs and one of the hottest teams in baseball.
I'll skip 3 Things this week since it's a split and just tell you I loved the Braves moxy of never give up in the fourth game, and I love how Jace Peterson and Juan Uribe are playing right now. Keep it up, guys!
Now on to the next series, where the Braves play the Diamondbacks for 3 games in Arizona. Let's take a gander at the matchups.
Game 1 - Wood v. Bradley
Game 2 - Miller v. Collmenter
Game 3 - Foltynewicz v. De La Rosa
I like this stretch of the rotation a lot, and I like them even more against an easier opponent in Arizona than the prior two West Coast teams we faced. Wood is coming off 2 wins in a row, Miller hasn't given up more than 2 runs since the end of April, and Folty's ERA in his last two starts is 1.89. All these guys are hot, and what better place for hot guys to play than Arizona in June?
They'll face Bradley, Collmenter, and De La Rosa, who are the exact opposite of hot. In their last 3 starts, Bradley has given up 16 runs, Collmenter has given up 8 runs, and DLR has given up 10 runs. The Braves are swinging hot bats coming off 15 runs in the last 2 games. So what's the bad news? The Braves have never seen Bradley before at all, and they've had very limited exposure to DLR. The only bright spot is that they've owned Collmenter, and he's never notched a win against the Braves in the last three years.
The players that need to make the Diamondbacks pay are Uribe, Simmons, Peterson, and Freeman. All were key players in the last series, and all of them have been swinging well over the last week. Uribe is blistering hot right now with a 1.139 OPS for the last 5 games. That's completely insane, but he did notch two homers in that stretch. I'd say the trade for Callaspo has already yielded results.
A friend of mine suggested that since the CPA is such a greasefire this year, I might as well do like Jimmy Fallon and let puppies make my picks. Probably more adorable, but I'm not giving up yet. I did manage to get the fact right that the Braves split. I just got all the games backwards so the CPA went 0-4 in a 4 game series. Bad, I know. But did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! (Animal House reference for those of you born in the 90s or later).
The CPA is now 16-29 with -19.40 units. I mean if you're betting against it right now, you're buying a new car. I couldn't be this bad if I was trying to lose. On to the picks.
Game 1 - Arizona by 1
Game 2 - Braves by 1
Game 3 - Arizona by 1
The CPA thinks this will be some close games with the bullpens being the edge. That's not really great for us. But if the Braves can score early, they might be able to turn the tide.