Series Recap - Marlins @ Braves
Matt Diaz. Our boy MattyD went 6 for 9 with a pair of doubles and a triple. Matty's offensive output was more than needed, considering that weekend starter Reid Gorecki went 1 for 10 over the series, but hey, the duo of Infante & Church combined to go 3 for 10 while starting in the OF with 3 walks, 2 RBI, and 3 runs scored. With Gorecki hitting behind him all weekend, Diaz really picked up the bottom of the order.
Bullpen. I touched on this in the HOT or NOT, but my cap is deeply tipped to the Braves bullpen this weekend. They went 8 and a third innings, allowing only 2 hits and 2 walks and striking out 8. Naturally, a run didn't cross the board and they kept the team in the game. The only member of the pen who didn't get any action over the weekend was Manny Acosta, which is probably a good thing. Even Boone Logan pitched efficiently, getting a pair of outs on 6 pitches. Well done.
The cleanup hitter. Adam LaRoche & Brian McCann split duties in the cleanup role this weekend, with McCann in his usual spot in the order on Friday & Sunday, and LaRoche sitting there on Saturday while David Ross got a start. The result? 5 for 12 with 6 RBI. Those numbers would be a lot better if I used LaRoche's Friday numbers (2/4, 3 run HR) instead of McCann's (0/4 with 2 strikeouts). With Chipper having as odd of a series as he did (see below), the team needed the production out of the 4 hole.
Chipper Jones. He should probably be in the dire category, but his line for the weekend was strange...1 for 7, but he walked SIX TIMES. That results in a strange line of .143/.538/.143. I'll take a .538 OBP in the 3 hole, but I'd like it more if he turned like 2 of those walks into hits...but hey, I'm not whining, just stating some facts.
Starting pitching. The team's major strength all year really came back to do some biting this weekend. Javier Vazquez pitched fine for 6 innings, then ran head on into a telephone pole (not that I'd know anything about that of course) in the 7th which tacked another 4 runs onto his line. Javy has to avoid the big innings like that...his peripherals are so great, but due to BIGINNINGITIS, his ERA looks like a pile of crap. Not good when you're trying to earn respect from the mainstream media. Tommy Hanson looked sharp through the first 4 against the Marlins, then allowed all 3 of his runs (and 3 of his 4 hits) in the 5th. Hey look, another big inning! Thankfully, Tommy's didn't have a dinger in it which is something that can mess FIP up big time. Tommy is really making strides, and will be an absolute FORCE next season for the Braves. And then theres Derek Lowe, who rebounded from a godawful shellacking at the hands of the Mets to...allow 5 runs (3 earned) in 5 innings. Unfortunately for Lowe, his defense really screwed him, as Brian McCann and Kelly Johnson each made catching errors that allowed runs to score. Lowe's peripherals were decent, with 3 strikeouts to 1 walk and nothing leaving the park, but he got beat around like a government mule. Awesome.
Padres preview will be up this evening. Recap and the Phillies preview on Thursday evening...but who knows what I'm gonna do on Tuesday and Wednesday. Maybe some sort of schedule analysis or something? We'll see.
TWO OUTTA THREE! The Braves now sit in 2nd in the NL East, and are now 3rd in the NL Wild Card race, just a game behind the Giants for 2nd. Today is the final game in the Rockies-Giants series, so we're picking up half a game on someone no matter what. We'll either be 3 and a half behind Colorado, or half a game behind the Giants. Either way, we'll be closer to some competition in order to take some blood. Now, the more pressing matter: the Marlins series. 3 pretty good games, with Sunday especially being a nailbiter. What was the deal there? Lets take a look see.