Baseball is a game of inches they say, actually fractions of an inch can change a fly ball to a home run or a safe call to an out. Baseball is also a game of numbers; 714, 755, 27 outs, 3 and 2. The number foremost in the Braves minds now is 5.
Any combination of Braves wins and Cardinal losses equaling 5 puts the Braves into the post season. With six games remaining the math is pretty simple. If the Braves go 2 – 4 the Cards must go 4-2, if the Braves 3 – 3 the Cardinals must go 5-1 just to force a games 163. The pressure is most assuredly on the Redbirds . . . if the Braves just take care of business.
Tonight the stopper goes out against the kid; the pro against the rookie. It’s nearly the plot of a movie except this is the real deal. I expect age, cunning and a superb sinker to overcome youth and a 98mph fastball tonight. Stephen Strasburg is on a pitch count because he just came back off TJ surgery, he’s their prize asset and the Nationals want him to start the final game of the year next week. His last game that count took him to 6 full innings. Our hitters have to try and make sure that’s 5 or less tonight. There’s that number again; 5.
This will be Tim Hudson’s 5th start in September.
In his first start he beat the Nationals 5-2 allowing 5 hits and striking out 5.
In 5 of Hudson’s starts this year the Braves supported him with 5 runs.
Pitching on the 5th day given 5 runs by the Braves, Huddy hasn’t lost.
When the Nationals give up 5 runs there record is 4-10.
Since 2009 when the Braves have scored exactly 5 runs against the Nationals the Braves won.
The numbers seem to indicate then that the recipe for success tonight is to score 5 runs off Strasburg before the 5th inning then the Huddy and the Braves will win this game.
Go forth with the knowledge that if we make the numbers work for us we can’t lose!