The game began with a thud for Mike Minor, but despite a mild recovery from the Braves ace, Atlanta dropped the series opener to the Milwaukee Brewers, 5-0.
Carlos Gomez took Minor out of the ballpark as the 2nd batter of the game, and that, unfortunately, proved to be all the offense that Milwaukee would need in this one. Jonathan Lucroy’s 2-run home run off of Minor (the only other damager against the left-hander) and a bomb from Aramis Ramirez off of Anthony Varvaro gave the Brewers all of the insurance they would need, but it was a tale of lackluster offense that did the Braves in on this night.
Against Milwaukee start Marco Estrada, the Braves managed only 2 hits over 7 innings, and things weren’t any better against the bullpen once he exited the game. The “bright” spot offensively was Andrelton Simmons, who tripled and walked in the game, but it was far too little even on a night where the Braves pitching staff held the Brewers to a manageable number of runs.
Truthfully, this may have been a bit of a hangover (literally and/or figuratively) from the division-clinching celebration on Sunday. The bats never awakened to pose any appreciable danger for the visiting Brewers, and that isn’t exactly the norm, especially against a subpar opponent.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez provided the most excitement of the night, as he was unceremoniously tossed by Braves “favorite” Angel Hernandez in the 7th inning. Paul Janish was struck with an errant pitch by Estrada, but Hernandez ruled that he could not take his base on account of a failure to avoid the ball. That sparked an explosion from Gonzalez, and it provided some welcome entertainment in an otherwise miserably viewing experience. God bless Angel Hernandez.
Moving forward, there are few takeaways from this game. Mike Minor wasn’t spectacular by any stretch, but the long ball was his only detriment in a respectable 7-inning, 3-run performance. He didn’t walk a batter in the game, and allowed only 8 hits for a solid one game WHIP of 1.14 for the night. He’s admittedly struggled a bit in recent days, but the longball is notoriously fickle, and if he could have kept one of the big flies in the ballpark, it would’ve been a different story as far as his pitching line.
This loss takes the Braves lead from 1.5 games down 1 over the Cardinals (with the results pending from St. Louis as of this post), but the Braves will be back on Tuesday to try to extend the lead with the always-entertaining Freddy Garcia on the hill against Tyler Thornburg. Stay tuned.