Atlanta Braves falter offensively, drop opener to Texas Rangers


The Atlanta Braves headed down to the Lone Star State for a series with the Texas Rangers beginning on Friday night. The game was a rain and wind soaked affair that saw temperatures dipping into the low 60’s. Now I’m from Dallas originally, so I can tell you with absolute certainty that those kinds of temperatures in September are crazy. It stays hot in Dallas well into late October, so to see fans with hot chocolate in the stands threw me for a loop. You know what didn’t throw me for a loop? The Braves not hitting with runners in scoring position. I’ve come to expect that, unfortunately.

If you like pitcher’s duels, you’ve been in heaven watching the Braves play lately, because nobody seems to be able to score runs. Alex Wood probably hates you too, because he’d love nothing more than a little support. He’s not even asking for four runs. He’d likely settle for three runs and a cup of coffee. So far, he’s only had the coffee.

The Braves struck first with a fielder’s choice that scored B.J. Upton from third. Jason Heyward had to motor to beat out the throw at first, and upon replay he probably didn’t. Yet, the Braves caught a small break and the run scored. That run stood up until the sixth inning when the Rangers got a sacrifice of their own. Ryan Rua hit a slow roller out to third that scored a run, and the game was tied at 1-1. I should mention that both these teams have been offensively terrible in the second half, so it’s fitting that both these runs were scored without an actual hit.

As the game wore on into the eighth inning, I started to believe that both fan-bases would be punished with a 17-inning affair that would last until 2AM. Frankly, I wanted no part of that. I just wanted a Braves win and a nice mattress on a Friday night. I got neither. Well, the mattress was fine, but I couldn’t sleep comfortably watching the Braves give the game away late like they did. In the eighth with two outs, the Rangers hit three straight singles off David Carpenter to take the lead 2-1. At that point, I threw my hands up and declared the game over.

Braves end up losing 2-1 because they can’t hit with RISP. The team went 0-7 with a runner at third base, in many cases with less than two outs. You can’t do that in a playoff race against a team that will probably have 100 losses on the season. This has gone from being frustrating to probably the worst Braves offense I’ve ever witnessed since the 1980s. The Braves better win tomorrow, or the playoff bulb is getting might dim.

Stay tuned.