The Braves deserved better last weekend, losing 2 of 3 to the Boston Red Sox, who they out-played both Friday and Sunday. I wasn’t too upset on the drive home from Fenway, and I’m not as concerned about the team as I was a week ago at this time.
It was a strange weekend in Boston beginning with the 100-foot “We Sell Guns. No Background Check- Criminals & Terrorists Welcome!” sign that I read as I drove by Fenway Park on the Mass Pike.
It made me feel safe.
For those of you lucky enough to be unaware…it is not yet summer in the Northeast. It rains everyday and a sweatshirt is still a required piece of clothing. I was shocked, SHOCKED that the rain held off until Sunday. I was expecting Noah’s Ark. The sky was as dark as could be without a down-pour, not that I am complaining.
Friday—the game can be summed up by the first pitch; Nate McLouth took Dice-K deep over the right field wall (I especially enjoyed watching J.D. Drew stand helpless as the ball flew over his head). Kenshin Kawakami pitched another solid game and was FINALLY rewarded with a win. Since a Sunday disaster in Cincinnati on April 26th, Kawakami has not surrendered more than 3ER in any start, steadily lowering his ERA from 7.06 to 4.42. The more I watch Kawakami pitch, the better I feel about the signing. He looks more comfortable, he’s throwing strikes, and most important, he’s getting people out. As always, when the Braves score runs, they scored a lot of them. I was hoping for a big series from the offense and it started well. I’m convinced that somehow Brian McCann’s new style of facial hair was responsible.
Saturday—I was impressed by the Boston fans as they gave Derek Lowe a standing ovation when he stepped out of the dugout to throw his pre-game bullpen session, then when he came back in from the session, then when he took the mound to start the game. As for the actual game—what can I say? I just have to tip my cap to Josh Beckett as he pitched a masterpiece. The more I think about it, maybe some rain could have helped after all…it’s probably the only thing that could have knocked him off of his game.
Sunday—The Braves ended up losing this game, but were the better team. Obviously the non-called third strike on J.D. Drew is the headline for this game. There isn’t much to say about the call. It was a strike and Bill Hohn blew the call. He baited Eric O’Flaherty into arguing and that led to the ejections of both Bobby Cox (shocker) and (more surprisingly) Chipper Jones. I don’t think Chipper’s face has ever been that red outside of a Hooters. Jeff Bennett had been throwing better since the 10th-inning walk to Beltran (which still causes me to curl into the fetal position and cry) but his luck ended on the first pitch of the 9th inning as former Brave Nick Green (barely) took him deep. It wasn’t a bad pitch…if anything GREEN got lucky.
By the way, when did Nick Green become good? A life-time .250 hitter, Green has put up solid numbers this year - .293 4HR 25 RBI 14 2B .804 OPS. After playing 111 games in 2005 after being traded to Tampa, Green found himself as a minor league journeyman with Seattle and the New York Yankees…now all of a sudden he’s a legit starting shortstop for a contending team and has a cannon for a throwing-arm? I don’t remember that either.
Garrett Anderson is now batting .285 after compiling 6 hits over the weekend. Funny, I don’t remember Anderson getting a hit. I guess he really does fly under the radar. Now, if only he can improve on the defense. I’m convinced that he could have thrown out David Ortiz at the plate on Sunday, and at the very least made other plays closer. I swear, and I’m not just saying this, I know plenty of pre-pubescent girls and post menopausal old women that could make the throws he couldn’t in Boston.
Overall, I was pleased with the way the Braves have played. It appears now as if they believe they can play with anyone. They were simply the better team in the 3 Red Sox games and more importantly THEY know it.
Follow me on Twitter @ BRAVEinNY
Until Next time…Beat the Yanks! (Sorry Danielle)