The weekend series with the San Diego Padres was an unmitigated disaster for the Atlanta Braves.
Heading into game three, the Braves had already stranded an unbelievable 23 combined runners, and had hit 4-for-28 (.143 avg) with runners in scoring position. That’s just in two games. Those are the kinds of terrible streaks you expect to see over a week, not two days. The Braves were trying to do anything they could to turn those numbers around in the final game, but the terrible hitting with runners on just seemed to continue and it bit them in a 4-3, extra-inning defeat.
The Padres struck first in the second inning on an RBI single by starting pitcher Tyson Ross. No, I’m not making that up, it’s just another ridiculous reality of this trail of tears across the West coast. San Diego extended the lead to 2-0 in the fourth inning when Everth Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly. In the meantime, the Braves did practically nothing offensively. Through six innings, Atlanta could produce only four base runners, and one of those was on an intentional walk to set up a match-up against the pitcher.
Then, the seventh inning happened. The Braves suddenly woke up and started hitting. Justin Upton led off with a walk, and Jason Heyward tripled him in to score. Evan Gattis then doubled to center, and the Braves tied the game at 2-2. Chris Johnson doubled after that, but Gattis held up far too long and only made it to third on the play. That would prove to be costly.
Ramiro Pena walked, loading the bases for Emilio Bonafacio. Unfortunately, the newest Brave struck out with the bases loaded and no outs. That put B.J. Upton at the plate, and for the second straight game, the Braves hit into a 5-2-3 double play that killed an inning. Mothers were covering their children’s eyes after that particular disaster.
From that point, the downfall isn’t difficult to imagine. San Diego’s Tommy Medica smashed his 3rd home run of the series, and gave the Padres a 3-2 lead in the 8th. With the game on the line in the 9th, at least the Braves had Jason Heyward at the plate. Heyward has been about the only consistent hitter on the team during this stretch. Jason had four hits in two games, and he connected again for a double. Again, the Braves had a runner in scoring position and no outs. Could they finally connect on a pitch and tie or take the lead?
Hilariously, It didn’t take a hit. Gattis rolled over to the pitcher who tried to throw out Heyward going to third, but the ball got by the third baseman and Heyward scampered home to tie the game 3-3. The Braves caught a break, but they needed to capitalize. Yet again, they couldn’t. Chris Johnson struck out, Ramiro Pena flew out, and Gerald Laird struck out to strand the runner. What drives me crazy about this team when things go bad is that they have trouble doing the little things right. The wheels just completely come off the wagon.
After Juan Jaime wiggled off the hook to force extra innings, it didn’t really matter since the Padres ended up winning with a walk-off single in the bottom of the tenth inning. Atlanta finished 2-8 with runners in scoring position, stranding six runners in the game. The pitching just couldn’t hold up after all the missed chances and poor hitting.
The losing streak reaches six games after the team’s second straight sweep out west, and the Atlanta Braves head to Seattle next to face the Mariners after an off day on Monday. We can only pray they find some offense or they will be five games back by the time they return home to Atlanta.
Tags: Atlanta Braves