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August 9 Recap

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I have to say that writing recaps for this game and the two previous ones has been a great pleasure.  Once again, the Braves came to play in this one taking it from the NL's best Dodgers.  By taking three out of four from the series in Los Angeles, we end our road trip 5 - 2.  That leaves us only 4.5 games back of the Phillies and 3.5 games back of the Giants/Rockies in the Wild Card.  For those of you who don't religiously check our PECOTA-adjusted, postseason odds, here are a few graphs of the projected odds for the NL East Championship crown, Wild Card, and our general postseason chances.
The final plot is the most telling.  Just a few weeks ago, we were at the pinnacle of attaining a postseason berth.  However, a mediocre homestand quickly put us back down to earth.  With the Phillies off their game and our series win over the Dodgers, though, we are starting to make another run at it.  This weekend's games versus the Fightin' are going to be crucial to our chances at a postseason run.  Without further ado, time for the recap.

Braves 8 - Dodgers 2

MVP: Javier Vazquez.  The guy is an absolute beast.  People weren't on the bandwagon in the beginning of the year, but props to PECOTA, my love affair, for predicting this huge season to the T.  People always assumed that his E-F, or ERA minus FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching; a more accurate predictor of a pitcher's true ERA), was destined to be positive, seemingly never able to obtain his true potential.  Once again, it seems there was too much being read into what appears to be simply noise.  Just to give everyone a little prospective on how good he's been, here are some of his rankings in pitching metrics compared to the entire majors: 3rd in FIP, 3rd in WHIP, 13th in ERA, 4th in K/9, 8th in BB/9, and 3rd in K/BB.  I think it is safe to say he has cemented himself as an Ace.

LVP: Ryan Church.  Not much to say here.  He went 1 for 5 with a double, a run, and a RBI.  A decent line for our worst performer of the day.

MIP: Matt Diaz's 2nd inning homer.  He was LVP yesterday, but I mentioned that it was good to see him sending the ball the other way.  Well, he took it all the way to right field for an opposite field bomb.  It was a great swing and a good indicator of what we may be seeing  from him in the coming weeks.

UotG: Javy was good enough to earn this on his own, even though the offensive definitely showed up (especially in the later innings, once again).

Overall, a great road trip for the Braves.  Next are the Nationals, who have been hot offensively.  Let's hope are pitching can cool down their bats.

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