OPEN LETTER TO AAR
Dear Mr. Remington,
Thank you, Alex, for letting me recap this game. It was one heck of a roller coaster ride.
Going into the game, you’ve got to figure there’s no way the Braves can beat Madison Bumgarner, arguably the best pitcher in the world today. We might be able to score one run, maybe; but that’s not the way to bet.
Sure enough, MadBum was dealing. Julio Teheran matched Bumgarner in the first. Not so in the second, when Julio was Brandonized. Back-to-back blasts by Brandons Belt and Crawford staked the Giants to a 2-zip lead. The way MadBum was pitching, the game should have been called.
Funny thing happened: after retiring the first 12 Braves in order, Bumgarner surrendered a leadoff single to Jonny Gomes in the top of the fifth. After Fat Juan II was out productively (Gomes moved to second on his groundball out), Buster Posey played a MadBum pitch into a passed ball; and Chris Johnson (Chris Johnson!) singled to score Gomes. The perfect game was gone, the shutout was gone, and the Braves had miraculously scored their allotted one run off the Great Bumgarner.
Julio, meanwhile, actually pitched well after throwing BP in the second inning. He never pitched a clean inning, walking four and striking out only two; but he made it through six having allowed only two runs. Gutsy performance, kid.
In the lucky seventh, after Neck grounded out to first, Gomes walked and my new hero FAT Juan Uribe hit his second two-run homer in two days off Bumgarner. The Braves led 3-2, and our team was just getting started. CJ followed Juan’s Juander with his second single of the day, and Andrelton knocked MadBum out of the game with the Braves’ third straight hit. Betty failed, and Fredi let Julio hit for himself.
HERE’S THE BURNING QUESTION: Julio’s gone a tough six innings. There are runners on first and third, and Freddie Freeman’s foaming at the mouth on the bench. Why not let Freddie or AJP hit for Julio here and let Julio go to the shower with the lead? Here’s the answer: I don’t know. Who knows what strategy lurks in the shadow of Fredi’s mind? Anyway, Teheran hit for himself, made the expected out, and went out to pitch the seventh.
What a goat rope! Julio promptly gave up a double to Matt Duffy. Fredi reaches into his bag of tricks and pulls out … Donnie Veal. Veal gives up the grybo on a single by – wait for it – the ghost of Gregor Blanco.
Tie game, but the Braves are still in the game. Nori Aoki sacrifices Blanco to second, and Veal kills all hope. Joe Panik takes Veal deep, and Julio’s hard-fought quality start is destroyed. Giants lead 5-3.
THIS JUST IN: Braves’ bullpen is not good, and Donnie Veal is bad. Details at six.
The Braves go meekly in the eighth, but the Giants do too. The Braves are down to three outs. Juanderful Uribe grounds out to third. Two outs left.
DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES? Freddie Freeman, in for Chris Johnson, homers to deep center: 5-4 Giants. Andrelton battles through a long at bat and … WALKS! Alas, Christian Bethancourt grounds into the game ending double play, and Brandon Crawford boots the routine ground ball. Braves still live. AJP bloops a pop single into right field’s no man’s land. Bases are loaded, and JACE the Giant Killer Peterson triples, scoring three – count ’em, THREE! – runs. Braves lead 7-5.
Jason Grilli comes in for the save, gets the first two Giants, and then, because we must have drama, gives up a double to Panik. PANIC! But Hunter Pence flies out to Neck. Braves win, split the series and head to the desert. Whew! What a game.
Thanks again, Alex. Next time do you think you can give me a laugher?
Hogs and kittens,