September 22, 2008

Braves Close ’08 at Turner With a Win

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The Braves played the last home game of 2008 this weekend and I must say, in spite of a disaster of a season, in spite of being swept at home this year by the Phils, in spite of all the frustrating crap that’s happened all year long… yesterday’s win made me feel good.

We came behind, in late innings, and got a win against the Mets. There are few things as thrilling as an 8th inning rally in front of the home crowd to put icing on the poop cake we Braves fans have been served all year.

In a dramatic twist of the ironic kind, it was the struggling Francoeur, somewhat embodying the pain of this season with his plate woes, who saved the day. His triple in 8th didn’t bring home the game winner, that was Prado. But it was his two out hit that kept the inning alive and gave us the lead. Mike Gonzalez’s ninth wasn’t the kind I would’ve asked for. After giving up a walk and then a homer to Delgado I looked closer to make sure that wasn’t James on the mound. But thankfully Gonzo struck out Beltran and then Easley to secure the save and the win… the hard way.

When it’s all said and done, I think this one counts for something. Pride. And after a humiliating go at it with the Phillies this year, I’ll take what I can get to feel good about. Maybe the Mets and Phils end up in the playoffs together in spite of it all but at least we finished strong against those New York rivals of ours.

The Game

James Parr lasted long enough to wolf down a hot dog, take a sip of your Coke, look up and see that he was gone. 4 ER’s and 1.2 innings later and Buddy was in the game. He finished the inning and made way for appearances from Nunez, Morton (who allowed 3 BB’s but no runs), Acosta, and Julio. There was no more scoring from the Mets until the shaky Gonzalez came in for the ninth. I still think he can be a closer but he’s got to work some kinks out or it’s going to be another closer horror story game after game next year.

Prado and Franceour were the only guys getting hits in a game Pelfrey started (6 IP, 3 R, 3 BB’s, 2 K’s). Kotchman (a check swing rallying bloop that kept it going in the 8th) and Infante had key hits but that was about it.

Now here’s where I’d like to do some of my own managing here. I just can’t say I understand Jerry Manuel’s moves in the bottom of the eighth. After Frenchy triples with two outs, Manuel walks Norton (still scared?) and then walks the bases loaded with Chipper at the plate (which makes sense after the first walk but sucks because we don’t get to see Chipper hit one last time for 2008 at Turner). But why not pitch to Norton with two outs? You have two bases open but you have to put another man in scoring position to get the bases loaded and a force at any bag. By walking Norton, you have to walk Jones. But with a one run game I think you should take your chances of allowing one run (or two if Norton homers) than putting the Braves in a situation where a double (thank you, Prado) scores two more easily.

Title Watch

Chipper last had an official at bat on the 19th when he went 0-3. He’s now at .362 ahead of Pujols .349 with 6 games remaining.

Game Ball

Definitely goes to Frenchy. He deserves it after a 3-4 day including a HUGE 8th inning RBI triple. I think it was an encouraging way for him to end 2008 at The Ted. It doesn’t make up for the season long troubles he’s had but you can’t blame all of this year’s miseries on him either. It’s only one bright spot in a game that doesn’t count on an otherwise grey season but it was refreshing for him, the fans, and the Braves to see him come through.

Tonight the Boys head back to Philly for one last time. Think we can get a series win or a sweep? Maybe save some face against The Fightin’s? I really hope so but the Phils have just had our number all year long.

Here’s a blog or two I like and think you’d enjoy checking out for a Phillies side of things as the pennant comes to a close.

The Fightin’s
Kevin McGuire

They’ve got a 1.5 lead over the Mets as I update this post.

We send our kid (Jurrjens) against their kid Happ. All Happ did last time against us was go 6 innings allowed no runs on three hits last week. Let’s hope for better luck than that tonight.

7pm in Citizens Bank Park.

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