Thursday, September 23, 2010
We Can’t Hit. We Can’t Field. The Division is Gone. The Wild Card Lead is Almost Nil.
Other than that, Bobby Cox’s farewell tour is going just swimmingly.
Last night’s game made me as frustrated as I have been watching a Braves game all season. There’s no shame in losing two games in Philadelphia to the best team in the NL when the Braves were throwing a pair of rookies who were in the minors at the All-Star Break. The Braves were competitive in both games. It is what it is.
In the final game of the series, the Braves finally got to throw one of their front-line starters and Tommy Hanson lived up to billing. He shut the Phillies out for six innings, allowing only two hits and three walks while striking out four. He had to be lifted after six, having thrown 109 pitches. His pitch totals were so high in no small part because he had a labored fifth inning that started with Nate McLouth fumbling a sinking fly to left. It was not an easy catch, but it was one that a major league outfielder should make, especially a centerfielder in left.
McLouth’s bumble was symptomatic of the team’s defensive issues throughout the game (and indeed, for the past several weeks). Martin Prado couldn’t hold onto a great throw from Brian McCann in the seventh that would have gotten the Braves out of an inning. And then the Phillies scored in the eighth when McLouth missed the cutoff man on a double to the corner by Raul Ibanez, whom I hate, but I can’t tell why.
That said, the Braves could have played for 18 innings and it didn’t look like they were going to score. Cue Bob Uecker: one G-ddamn hit? Three baserunners? No Brave made it to third base? The offense has disappeared. The Braves prospered all summer because they worked counts and got on base. That skill picked a fine time to leave us, Lucille. I would say “thank goodness we have the Nats this weekend,” but I remember last week.