Scene 1: To the sound of ominous electronic music, punctuated by jolting thunderclaps, dark storm clouds quickly slide over a tall forest of poplar trees. A familiar voice — that of the late Don LaFontaine, “The Film Trailer Guy” — bleakly intones:
“In a world… where a baseball club…”
Shift to omniscient view of Turner Field
“…bleeds for every base, every hit, every run…”
Shift to a quick video compilation of called 3rd strikes, GIDPs and bounced batting helmets
“In a world… where a clutch hit seems as remote as a South-Pole weather station…”
A 3rd-inning compilation of Francisco striking out, Uggla hitting a weak fly and McCann popping up — all with the bases loaded, resulting in nothing; then a quick shot of Outkast’s André 3000 and Big Boi, both wearing ’70s Braves caps, saying in unison, “Ice cold!”
“…Just how in this world did the Atlanta Braves win the past two games?”
Cue “Looney Tunes” Theme.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Colorado Rockies!
The owners of a division-low .412 winning percentage and a league-high 107 errors, including one of the more shocking, straight-out-Little-League miscues you’ll ever see… well, they did what they do and they did what they don’t. Again, they didn’t hit on the road (.239/.289/.376 for the year) and, again, they made a crucial mistake, trumping any attempt on Atlanta’s part to lose the game itself. Thanks, Rox!
Anatomy of a Gift: After a Francisco bunt single (!) and an Uggla oppo- double (!!), The Roadrunner stood on 3rd with no outs. During McCann’s AB, Rox catcher Wilin Rosario routinely tossed the ball back to Rox pitcher Jhoulys Chacin, who turned his head away as the ball approached and then snapped his glove at the throw. Unfortunately for him, the ball ticked off his glove and trickled toward the dead zone between the mound and 2nd base. Fortunately for the Braves, Francisco (unlike the pitcher) was paying attention, so he took off for home — best as he could, anyway. Chacin gave chase, but no luck — 1-0 Bravos.
After Big Juan Bellyflopped on the plate, Chacin briefly offered the body language of a hockey goalie who’d just given up a softie on a 40-foot wrist shot — disgusted, humiliated, wanting to disappear. If there had been a netted goal out there, he would’ve slumped into it. (Of course, this being a club that seems to be channeling September 2011, the Braves didn’t score further — credit Chacin, I suppose.)
So there you have it. When you get a gift run during a stretch where you go 0 for your last 27 with RISP, it doesn’t break your heart when the other club turns into the Bad News Bears. Luckily, for the second consecutive day, Colorado got in tune with its inner-Timmy Lupus and gave the Braves a rather unearned lead. And for the second consecutive day, Braves hurlers made it stand up.
While Mike Minor was a man-machine Wednesday night (7 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 4 BB, 7 K in 108 pitches), Tim Hudson was a little more human this afternoon (7 IP, 0 R,
2 6 H, 2 BB, 2 K in 102 pitches). But he sidestepped any trouble with his usual runners-on recipe — a grounder hit within reach of a ready infielder. So, we got another goose-egg outing from our starter.
In the 8th, Moylan easily recorded the first two outs — “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!” Then EOF smoked Tyler Colvin for Out 3. Atlanta got nothing in the bottom of the 8th — what’s new? But then we… released The Kraken… The Kimbrel Kraken.
After a lazy pop-out, Kimbrel gave up a scratch hit, but nothing else. He K’d CarGo swinging on a bitchin’ hip-to-ankle slider, then obliterated Andrew Brown on three pitches — ballgame and save #34.
And that was that, a pair of shaky 1-0 wins behind some rather outstanding mound work. Atlanta scored 8 runs (5 earned) in the 4-game series and somehow came away with 3 wins. At the moment, the Braves hold a 3½ game wild-card lead on St. Louis and they stand 7 GB in the division, as the Nasty Nats (32 games over .500) host the Crummy Cubs (34 games under .500) tonight.
Onto Queens, where The Great Larry Wayne “Chipper” Jones, Jr., will make his last stop in Flushing. What Reggie Miller was to the Knicks, Chipper is to the Mets. He tortures that franchise and its fans, and that’s one of the many reasons we love him. Let’s hope he can make ’em pay again. Call him “Larry” one more time, Metfolk — I dare ya…