Hello again faithful Braves Blast readers.
As we begin this week I think it’s important for us to take a look back at the past 4 games our Atlanta Braves have played. The four game series, which I’ve never been a fan of a four game series – just seems one too long, against the Arizona Diamondbacks was one that Braves Country can be happy about. Our boys went 3 – 1 against a pretty good team out west. Yes, they were a little banged up – but a win is a win and it doesn’t matter who you face.
There was so much to cover that just blew my mind. For starters, no pun intended, our starting rotation was amazing. A big knock against the Braves at the start of the year was the lack of innings the starters were accruing. The bullpen’s taxation from 2011 can be attributed to the lack of managerial savvy of Fredi and also the large number of games where starters didn’t go past 5 innings. That simply causes a great bullpen to get tired and sputter come the end of August and all of September. That concern was something Mike Minor, Brandon Beachy and Tommy Hanson decided alleviate. Going 8, 7.3, and 7, respectively, the ‘pen wasn’t relied on too much. This was exactly what our staff needed. Young guys to step up and push each other. Brandon Beachy said in the post game interview after his start in game two, that he wanted to go out and try to match what Mike Minor did. I’m sure Tommy Hanson didn’t want to feel left out, so he went out, and after giving up a run in the first and second, managed to sit down 13 Diamondbacks in a row before Venters and Kimbrel struck out each of their sides.
It also helped that the bats continued the streak they’ve been on. There isn’t much need to bring in your 7th, 8th and 9th inning men when you score an average of 9 runs a game during the 5-game winning streak the Braves were on. Our second 5-game winning streak in 15 games for those of you keeping score.
Michael Bourn and Freddie Freeman have been on fire this past week. They were, to simply put it, great. Bourn was on base all the time it seemed. His batting average for the last week was .464/.531/.536, 7 runs scored and 5 stolen bases. That’s just creating havoc for opposing pitchers. His OPS was 1.067. For a guy with barely any power, that’s outrageous.
The more impressive part of our offense was our young first baseman, Freddie Freeman. His slash line against the D-backs was .467/.500/.1.067. The boy went on a tear out west. He spoke about it in an interview after game two, that he really loves playing in front of his family and friends. Freeman is a So Cal native and he had a strong contingent of Freeman faithful make the approx. 3-4 hour drive to see their native son put a wallop on the D-backs pitching staff. He put a home run in the pool out in right center and went opposite field to push one into the left field seats. An interesting note was that the damage done was all while Freddie occupied the 3-hole in the line up. He did this even when Chipper was in the game for the 2nd and 3rd of the series.
As long as Freeman is contributing with his bat and continues to play great defense, I have no problem with him hitting in the usual spot reserved for the almost 40 year old Chipper Jones.
Starting tonight, our Braves take on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Hopefully the Braves can continue their dominance at the plate and take advantage of the fact that the Dodgers two best starters, Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley, will not be pitching against us.
As always dear reader, pray for pitching, be proud of the tomahawk chop and if you need a smile, just remember when Sid slid.
Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Brandon Beachy, Freddie Freeman, Michael Bourn, Mike Minor, Tommy Hanson
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