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The Braves led 4-0 but it wasn’t enough. They got a 6-2 lead and it wasn’t enough. And then, in a tie game in the tenth, Vladimir Nunez gives up three walks in 2/3′s of an inning including a game winning bases loaded pass.
Which begs the question, why did Bobby keep him in after the first two walks? Was he giving up on the game or were we really out of relievers? Carlyle, Bennett, Ohman, and Taveras, had already pitched but Gonzalez could’ve come in and given us another at bat in the 11th. Heck at least Acosta would’ve been a fresh arm! I know we don’t have anything but pride to play for at this point but leaving Nunez in makes me seriously question our approach to winning ball games against the Nationals.
That’s what separates us from last place. Games like last night’s and an inability to beat the only team behind us in the East with a month of baseball to play, leaves me with a growing fear that we could indeed finish at the bottom of the heap.
So what DID happen other than the obvious ineptitude of our pitching staff to maintain a lead against the Natspos? (Reyes giving up 4 in 4, Carlyle finally succumbing to the mighty DC bats and allowing 3 runs in an inning… it goes on.)
Well, I’m keeping a particularly close eye on two players. Josh Anderson and Chipper Jones.
Anderson at the moment would be my top pick for the starting center field spot next year. And I think he’s doing well with the opportunities he’s getting. I just like the way he plays and I want a a guy with a good OBP who is a natural base stealer at the top of the lineup! Another very good night on Saturday for Josh makes his stock go up for next year. He was 2-4 with a double and 2 walks last night and his OBP is at .533 in the last three games he’s played in since Kotsay was shipped to Beantown.
Making my way around the lineup, standout performances last night came from McCann (of course) with his 23rd homer and Martin Prado. Prado, who’s making us quickly forget about both Kotchman and Tex, has been on fire. Since taking over at first, Martin has had one hitless game and only two others that were NOT multi hit performances. Last night he gets 3 H’s with a pair of RBI’s. And rounding out any updates of interest Frenchy sat this one out and had a 0-1 pinch hit at bat.
Chipper had a two hit night that included a homer (20) and an RBI double to stay at .359. Which is good, but Pujols surged ahead on his own with a 4-4 day on Saturday and now stands atop with .362. You’ve got a pair of excellent hitters battling it out for this one.
Though we didn’t win (of course) I thought I’d do what my little league coach used to do and give out a game ball. Maybe it’s just a morale thing that only we can appreciate but, ever the optimist, I try look for the something to be glad about. I’ll give Saturday’s game ball to my pick for the Braves’ 2008 MVP; Brian McCann. He and Chipper both had RBI doubles and homers each but my deciding factor was fewer LOB’s last night for B-Mac.
Game today at 1:05pm with Jair Jurrjens (11-9) vs Collin Balester (3-6)