If you are going to win 54, and you’re going to lose 54, and it’s the 54 in the middle that makes the difference, you wouldn’t be too far out of line to suggest that a 10PM start after a cross country flight to LA, without the traditional off-day, with Zack Greinke on the mound, might be part of the third you punt. Greinke’s been struggling to live up to his contract this year, but there’s no doubt he’s got the talent. And last night, he got the results.
Greinke wasn’t dominant, per se. He scattered 4 hits and 3 walks across 7 innings. But he also struck out 7 Braves when he really needed to and kept them off the board entirely. The strikeouts came predominantly against Justin Upton (3K’s, 3LOB) and Dan Uggla (2K’s, 2LOB.) It wasn’t the stuff of legends. It wasn’t Julio Teheran v the Pirates. But it was enough to make a piddling little RBI ground out off the bat of Skip Schumaker in the 2nd stand up.
With the way the Braves treated the Dodgers’ bullpen, particularly Kenley Jansen when they were in Atlanta, you held out hope going into the top of the eighth. But it was for naught. Jansen gave up a lead off single to Success!, but that was quickly erased on a runner-going, fly-out, doubled-off-first scenario off the bat of Andrelton Simmons. There were baserunning hijinks just to add insult to injury, too. Jason Heyward then singled with two out, but JUpton whiffed for the third time and that was done.
In the bottom half the Dodgers put it away off of Cory Gearrin. Two one out singles, a walk to Hanley Ramirez and a yakker to Dodgers wunderkind Yasiel Puig and it was all over but the six hour tour of LA’s state of the 1950’s-art freeway system. The Braves went meekly top nine and that was that.
Braves fans looking for some upside here should note that Tim Hudson put together his second high quality, Tim Hudson-esque start in a row. Perhaps we were a bit premature with the grave digging. He says that he and Roger McDowell identified a mechnical flaw – he was apparently collapsing his front leg and thus leaving his pitches up – prior to his last start in Atlanta. If so, that start plus tonight’s effort is a good sign. Other good signs include Heyward getting two more hits (both singles) and BJ Upton drawing two walks in three PAs, while striking out none times. Otherwise, it was the type of game you regret staying up late to watch.
Get some sleep and take the next two, fellas.