The Braves won the first game, and the Cubs were so demoralized that they cancelled the rest of the series and went home to Chicago. Or so I'd like to believe. While the Braves did win the first game, which is no small miracle in and of itself, they did play two more games after that this weekend. And the Braves did get demolished in embarrassing fashion in both those games. Which was very expected given the pitching matchups.
Personally, I think the first game really showed me something from Bud Norris, who I had long ago written off as completely useless. For some reason, Bud was throwing 95 mph seeds up at the Cubs hitters, and perhaps they were so shocked they couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. Bud went 7 innings, 4 hits, 1 earned run, and 6 strikeouts as he got the win over the Cubs. And the Braves bats woke up as Adonis Garcia and Tyler Flowers had back-to-back homers to take the lead in the second inning, and never looked back. Even though the Braves went 3-11 with RISP, they still managed to plate 5 runs on the day, and we all took a moment as Braves Country to celebrate our victory over the playoff bound Cubbies.
On Saturday we saw Wisler take the mound, and I think many of us were feeling confident after the prior win, even with Arrieta going for the Cubs. We felt we'd see a good game with two tough pitchers. I don't think anybody really expected a win, but I think we expected a competition. We got neither. The Braves Matt Wisler got lit up again for 5 runs in 4 innings, which is the second horrific outing he's had in a row on the heels of a 8 run disaster against the Dodgers. Welcome to the MLB, kid, these are the kinds of teams you'll see in the playoffs if you ever get there. It's not all sunshine and farts and Miami Marlins games. Needless to say, it would have taken 6 runs to cover Wisler, and the Braves can't do that. They lost 8-2.
Then Sunday happened. It was hot. It was a 1PM start. It was probably one of the worst pitching matchups of the weekend as Jon Lester faced stand-in starter John Gant for the Braves. And Gant held his own for about 4 innings under an onslaught of Cubs hits and runners. He walked 4 and gave up 4 hits, but managed to keep the Braves in the game. It was only 3-1 when he left, and one of those runs was unearned. But Casey Kelly came in for the 6th inning and the wheels exploded off the bandwagon. Kelly gave up 4 runs, and suddenly it was 7-1. Then in the 8th Chris Withrow somehow gave up 6 runs before Snitker pulled him. At that point, I'm guessing Snit just wanted to stop burning relievers and just let the kid hang out there. Withrow only got 1 out. It was a merciless beating. The Braves lost 13-2. No amount of offense would cover that kind of game (we don't have a 14 run game in us this year as constructed I can assure you).
I'd prefer to say that the Braves won a game and I'm happy with that. The subsequent beatdowns took the shine off it though, I won't lie. I'm hopeful for the future. I'm hopeful for these prospects. But man, I can't take a whole bunch more of these kinds of 8+ run shellackings without throwing my hands up and taking a week off from watching this team struggle. Luckily it's getting hot enough to where I don't want to go outside anymore.