The Atlanta Braves completed their 12th series sweep of the season (editor’s note: this is staggering) by defeating the Cleveland Indians in three straight games that were, frankly, incredibly boring. The most interesting thing that happened during the entire series was Elliot Johnson’s post-game interview with Tom Hart after game one, in which Johnson described his game-winning triple in the mode of a Nascar driver giving an interview. Oh yeah, Elliot Johnson had a game-winning triple. If that doesn’t just sum up this whole series, I don’t know what does.
Johnson’s triple in game one scored two Braves runs, which was all the Braves needed to win the game, 2-0. Alex Wood pitched his one of his worst games of his major league career by walking four batters and not having any easy innings, but, in the end, he also gave up no runs. When going 5 2/3 innings without allowing a run is your worst day, you are having a good season. Wood finished the month of August with a 0.90 ERA and has been the Braves best starter since his move to the rotation. He should definitely be in line for a postseason start assuming his bizarre throwing motion doesn’t destroy his elbow before then. Wood was pegged as a reliever by most evaluators coming into the 2012 draft, but to this point, he has looked like an extremely capable starter. Whether he can sustain a career throwing the way he does remains to be seen, but he certainly is going to be counted on as one of the Braves key starters for the rest of 2013.
Game two was actually kind of exciting with Chris Johnson delivering a walk-off single in the bottom of the 9th inning to give the Braves a 3-2 victory. That I had already forgotten about this exciting finish speaks either to the malaise that hangs over interleague matchups for teams that have their division wrapped up in August, or to the debilitating advancement of my ADD. If I manage to finish this article, I suppose that means it is mostly the malaise that makes a series like this one so unmemorable. Paul Maholm was nothing special as he walked more batters than he struck out, but his ability to keep the ball in the park at home continued, and Maholm only gave up one run in six innings of work. Jordan Schafer was the star of this game as he reached base four times, drove in two runs, and scored the game winning run. A positive series from Schafer was nice to see, as since he returned from the DL he had looked much more like the player who got cut by the Astros than the guy who had been surprisingly useful for the first half of 2013.
Game 3 was the ultimate sleep-inducing experience of the series, as the Braves won 3-1 on the strength of a 3-run Brian McCann home run. McCann hit his homer and essentially nothing else happened except for Justin Upton being hit on the hand by a pitch. X-Rays for Upton’s hand were negative which is shocking when you consider the run of Final Destination injuries the Braves roster has been on this year. Justin will likely miss the first game of the Marlins series, according to Fredi Gonzalez, and then he probably will miss the rest of the Marlins series, because, well, it’s the Marlins. Seriously, Justin please take some time and get healthy, as these games do not matter at all.
A sweep is a sweep and the Braves have won four games in a row. They hold a 3-game lead for home-field advantage in the National League and can hopefully avoid any more serious injuries the rest of the way. Once rosters expand, the team should probably play a full time B-team, and store Simmons and Freeman in the clubhouse in a room covered in bubble wrap.
Stay tuned for a preview of the weekend series with the Marlins.