Series Recap - Padres @ Braves
Leadoff hitter Matt Diaz. Quick spoiler: Diaz will be the first guy I list in HOT or NOT tomorrow, regardless of how he does tonight. A 7 for 15 series that raises your average by 9 points is awesome. He leads the team in OPS for the season (but will never be credited as such because he doesn't have enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title). I took a big steaming crap on Diaz last year after his horrible, short year. He's apparently learned how to hit righties. Matt Diaz, I love you.
Pitching on Tuesday & Thursday. Jurrjens was a demon on Tuesday despite the single homer and 4 walks, with 7 strikeouts. He also nearly got through the 8th, which is a HUGE step for him. The bullpen then pitched 3 1/3 scoreless before Kris Medlen allowed the winning run in the 12th. 1 baserunner and 6 strikeouts in those 3 1/3 too. AWESOME. Medlen rebounded to throw a scoreless inning on Thursday, following up Javier Vazquez's stellar 7 scoreless (with no walks. Whattaman). Then of course, Buddy Carlyle popped in to blow the shutout, in his best impression of the man he replaced on the active roster, Manny Acosta. When your pitching only allows 3 runs in 21 innings, thats really good. I approve.
Chipper Jones. Hey, he got 2 hits on Thursday! ...and got none on Tuesday and Wednesday. One positive is that he did walk 4 times over the series and didn't strike out once. Line for the series: .181/.467/.181. Man, that really looks weird. Look Chip, I love you to death, but you're 8 for your last 50 without an extra base hit. Thank god for the 12 walks.
The 11th & 12 man. For those of you unfamiliar with the terminology, the 12th man is considered to be the worst member of the bullpen who scraped his way onto the roster. On this team, the 12th man is Manny Acosta or Boone Logan. With Acosta being exiled to Gwinnett after embarrassing himself on Wednesday, Buddy Carlyle came back and threw his name into the hat. The trio of Logan, Carlyle & Acosta combined to allow 6 runs on 9 hits in 4 innings over the series. I mean, seriously? Eric O'Flaherty had a crappy game on Wednesday too, allowing 2 runs in only a third of an inning, but he's been reliable and effective all year. These 3 guys are just flat out BAD. Carlyle has an ERA near NINE (and you can't exactly claim small sample size, as he's gotten into 15 games), Acosta's is close to 4 and a half (and if you point out how Medlen is above 4 as well, I'll show you to the point where Medlen is striking out more than 10 batters per 9 and has a K:BB over 2. Next please), and Logan is over 5 and is one walk away from having an EVEN K:BB for the season. Thats absolute garbage. Acosta is pitching nearly identical to his true talent level, while Logan is roughly the same as Acosta (nearly identical FIP) and Carlyle is just bad as opposed to abysmal. The top 5 in the pen all have FIPs of 3.55 or lower. The sad thing is, Gwinnett is going to be going to the IL playoffs, which means that their relievers likely won't be called up when rosters expand until they're done there. But hey, its not as if a whole lot of help is coming...the only real bullpen arm on the 40-man in Gwinnett is Luis Valdez. Theres also Stephen Marek, but the less said about him the better. The other pitchers on the 40-man are Todd Redmond, James Parr and Jojo Reyes...yeah, I don't think that would work out too well. Someone from the 40-man is disappearing on Tuesday when Tim Hudson comes off the 60-day...probably going to be Carlyle. At least I hope it is.
Alright folks, another fantastic series recap in the books. HOT or NOT coming tomorrow, Phillies recap on Monday, and I'll maybe play around with getting a new type of series preview up...its a little irritating trying to analyze the same pitchers you just did a week ago.
This series was pretty much a season killer for the Braves. After the series ended, the Braves were 7 back of the Phillies (once again tied with the Marlins, funny how that works out), and were 4 and a half back of the Rockies in the wild card race, but with 3 teams to jump to take the lead. It is absolutely positively crucial for the Braves to win the last 2 games in Philly this weekend, and then absolutely run through the Marlins next week. If that doesn't happen, it will officially be over, and they can start running out 6 man rotations and guys like Manny Acosta as often as Bobby Cox wants.
Also, I apologize for not getting a Phillies preview up, but I figured I just did one last week, and also, I figured none of the games would even get played...weather this weekend is supposed to be terrible (see: last night). And of course, its absolutely beautiful about it. So yeah, I'm a tool. Onto the recap...