Once again, we have a second Sunday recap — this one by mavery. Again, my apologies for breaking up the threads. Enjoy!
What a great day for baseball! Beautiful day, wonderful temperatures, and the Braves going for the sweep.
I was lucky enough to get to go to this game, with seats 11 rows back down the 3rd base line. While they offered a good view of most of the action, this unfortunately meant I didn’t quite have the angle to see where BJ Upton‘s lead-off line drive hit the wall. It was his first of two doubles down the third base line, and it came off the first pitch he saw from Gio Gonzalez. Things went down hill for Gonzalez from there. After Heyward felw out to second, Justin Upton walked, setting up Evan Gattis for a run-scoring double. C. Dalton Johnson brought them both in with the first of the four singles he’d collect on the day. After a 1-2-3 top of the second, Justin Upton lead off the 3rd with a solo HR (oppo, baby) and Andrelton Simmons brough in Dan Uggla and Johnson on a three-run shot into the Braves bullpen. I swear I saw Bryce Harper shed a single tear as he watched it fly over his head. The Braves were up 7 and they’d push it to 9 in the 6th off a Jason Heyward double (he’s FINE) and a Gattis sac fly. This of course, was after Gonzalez left with what my scorecard tells me is 5IP, 7H, 7ER, 3BB and 2SO. So Gonzalez was bad. Paul Maholm was better. He was so much better than bad that he was good.
Like, really good. Like, filthy. 6 strikeouts, one walk, and only 4 hits. No one even got to third until he was chased by two singles in the bottom of the 7th. Luis Avilan and Cory Gearrin went the rest of the way without incident. The crowd at the start had looked like at least 35,000. By the top of the 8th, it looked like I was at a Marlins game.
What is there to say about this team? They’re hitting on all cylinders. You’d like to see Simmons level out his stroke a bit, and BJ goes after the first pitch a bit too often (although hard to complain about 3-5 with two doubles), but as a team, they’re swinging the bats really well, and the pitching’s been great. Braves pitchers allowed 5 runs to the nationals over three games. That’s REALLY good! And the defense has been phenomenal. Reed Johnson (in relief of Heyward late) had two brilliant plays in right, and to my eye, Dalton’s been more than adequate at first. I suppose its important to point out that this won’t last, (it just can’t) but for now, the Braves are playing great ball in every aspect of the game, and I had a blast watching them do it today. I only wish I’d brought a broom.