The Atlanta Braves played the final game of their four-game series against the Colorado Rockies under sunny skies Thursday. The game was anything but sunny for the Braves, however. Fredi Gonzalez typically doesn’t let Evan Gattis play in a day game after a night game, so he was on the bench. Justin Upton got the day off as well, in favor of Jordan Schafer.
Given that those two men represent the two best sluggers on the team, it wasn’t a huge shock that the Braves failed to score many runs until it was far too late, losing 10-3.
Just to reiterate, the Braves struggled to score runs in Coors Field. Nobody struggles to score runs there. Not even Jeff Francoeur struggled to score runs there, and he’s playing for some AAA outfit in Guadalajara or something. I’m not making that up, since Jeff scored 13 runs in 21 games in Colorado during his career. I’m probably making up the part about the Mexican League AAA, since he’s actually in El Paso. That’s practically Mexico though, so we’re really just splitting hairs.
Anyway, this game was terrible so I’m not excited to get into the specifics, nor are you if you watched this disaster. Ervin Santana gave up six earned runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings pitched. Walden got toasted for two runs in 0.2 innings. Anthony Varvaro got lit up for the last two Colorado runs. The Braves collected only four hits–two by Tommy La Stella, one by B.J. Upton, and one by Jason Heyward. B.J.’s hit was actually a two-run homer, so that’s a plus. The downside is it came when the score was 8-1. That’s far too late to give anybody hope, or for me to care about B.J.’s meaningless stats.
The game was still well within the Braves reach until the 7th inning. It was 2-0 until the 6th, but the Rockies scored again to make it 3-0. In the 7th, that’s when everything went wrong, and the Rockies put a crooked number (five) up on the board. Until that point, the Braves only had two hits and they were both La Stella’s. They also went 1-5 with RISP, which won’t get the job done in Colorado. This was simply a bad day for a lineup laced with backups.
Making matters worse, Gerald Laird had to leave the game in the ninth after getting injured by a bat to the mask. David Carpenter took exception to that and plunked the batter, getting himself tossed out of the game. Laird was able to walk off under his own power, so I think he’ll be okay in the long run. Still, that’s a tough day at the office for the backup catcher.
The worst part of the whole experience was that the Braves hitters made an 0-4, 4.53 ERA Rockies starter (Jhoulys Chacin) look like Cy Young. That’s getting old fast for many in Braves country, myself included. The Braves have the power and ability in the lineup to play better than this. They just need to be more disciplined at the plate, and stop swinging at junk. Chacin was all over the place, but the Braves bailed him out several occassions with ill-timed swings.
All in all, the series was a 2-2 split. That’s not terrible, but the Braves were all over the Rockies in the first two games and let the last two completely snowball. Consistency is not their strong suit. That means the Braves head home to play a weekend series against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday. The offense better show up again, or the Braves are in danger of finding themselves in 3rd place in the NL East on Monday.
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