Overall, I'm happy with the Braves' performance this weekend. They played three tight games with the best team in the NL and won two of them, which was a marked improvement over the Cards beating the Braves fairly easily in an August series last year. The games illustrated that a team with great pitching can get other teams to play their games, whereas last year, the Braves had a more balanced team, but they couldn't force the Cards to play tight, defensive games and the Braves' average pitching was dominated by St. Louis' lineup. It's encouraging that the Braves took a series against a very good team and I was reminded of the success of the '99 team, which didn't have a lot of offense, but did very well against quality opponents, which augured well for the playoffs.
Dan Kolb made a return to competence this weekend, as well. There's nothing cheap about getting a save with a one-run lead against Larry Walker, Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds, and Scott Rolen, so good for Dan Doodie. Let's see if he can get into a good stretch now.
The cautionary factor is that it's only a three-game series and the Braves were lucky in the sense that they won two games despite being badly outhit. The Cards had 15 hits + walks yesterday to the Braves' seven. On Saturday, the Cards won that battle 12-11. On Friday, the margin was 14-12. Plus, the Braves were lucky yesterday when Scott Rolen's potential three-run homer in the 5th died on the warning track.
And before leaving the series this weekend, nice move by Tony LaRussa complaining about the Braves complaining too much about the umpires. I hope I'm not the only one who sees irony in that: "I'm tired of the Braves trying to get an edge by working the umps...so I'm going to make this remark which itself is nothing more than working the umps."
One more nice thought: I was driving from Charlottesville to Atlanta yesterday and was able to pick up the entire game by going from station to station. The Braves are on in Greensboro, Charlotte, Spartanburg/Greenville, and Gainesville, GA. It was a nice reminder that the Braves are truly a regional team, unlike most teams in baseball.