These two games were like A Tale of Two Cities. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. I was in the stadium on Wednesday night for the best of times when the Braves came back to win in the 11th inning on a Freddie Freeman walk off homer. I listend on the radio for the worst of times as the Braves lost 6-0 on a one inning onslaught of walks and homers that knocked Aaron Blair out of the game, including a Madison Bumgarner home run. Yeah, the pitcher.
One of the things I really liked about the game I saw Wednesday night was how the pretty solid defense. Yes, I said solid defense and the Braves in the same sentence. Feel free to take your jaw off the floor. Sure we had an error, but even Adonis Garcia was making some pretty awesome diving plays and throws, which shows me that he learned in AAA he can't just be a bat at the MLB level. You have to have a glove too. Plus the Braves scored the tying run on a wild pitch in the 9th by the Giants, so we took advantage of their mistakes for once.
The day game was a whitewash so I don't need to really cover it much. Nothing happened except for one inning. Here's how it went for the Giants in the 5th inning. Walk, homer, Walk, homer, hit by pitch, homer, and Blair gets yanked. That was the entirety of the offense for the game. If you watched it, and judging by attendance you didn't, the game had about 10 minutes of action surrounded by 2 hours and 40 minutes of nothing.
Back to the winning game, I can honestly say it was the most fun I'd had in the TED in a long time. It looked hopeless early as the Braves went down 2-0 on a Belt homer, but they rallied it back to 2-1, then lost ground to 4-1, and I expected it would be another big loss. However, Mallex Smith came up with the hit of the game, a 6th inning RBI triple that COULD have been an inside the park homer if Bo Porter had sent him to the plate. He would later score anyway on a sacrifice, making it 4-3. The tie came on the wild pitch in the 9th, the win on the Freeman homer in the 11th.
But lost in the shuffle was the great hitting by Chase d'Arnaud in a PH scenario, going 2-3 with a run scored. And even bigger than that was the bullpen giving the Braves 5.1 innings of shutout baseball. That was the difference in keeping the game within striking distance for the 9th inning luck, and just getting blown out. The bullpen was phenomenal in this series going 15.1 innings and only giving up 2 earned runs. That's the kind of bullpen we'll need later on in the rebuild to be successful. If the starters can get this stuff together, and the hitters can score 4+ a game (BIG IF) then the Braves could actually start winning this year. I can dream.