Wednesday’s loss concluded a tough series for the Braves, who dropped all three games to the Bronx Bombers. As a team, Atlanta hit .262 (27/103) in the series but managed just 6 runs to the Yankees 12, including two demoralizing losses in which the Braves lost the lead late in the game. In that regard, tonight’s loss summed up the series pretty well and left Yankees fans partying like it was 1999.
The Yankees struck early, as Jeter doubled and A-Rod drove him in with a single up the middle. Hudson, who had been bothered by ankle pain, settled down after the first inning en route to an eight strikeout night. The Braves answered in the fifth with a Brian McCann blast that scored Martin Prado and recaptured the lead. However, Hudson couldn’t hold it, and surrendered a two-run shot to Curtis Granderson just one inning later. Despite what seemed like good opportunities almost every inning, the Braves couldn’t get a run across, and a broken-bat pop fly off the bat of Jason Heyward ended a frustrating evening and series in disappointing fashion. Braves lose, 3-2.
The real problem tonight was timely hitting. The Braves stranded 13 runners and blew opportunities to score nearly every inning. The team went 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position (and neither of those hits scored runs). The ones that hurt the most were the Braves inability to score with the bases loaded in the second and with two on in the seventh. This club can’t do that against any team and be successful, but against the hard hitting Yankees, it was no contest.
To this point, the Braves have been an incredibly streaky team. After that horrific eight game skid, the club won eight of nine before dropping the last four. This team needs to play with more consistency if it hopes to be successful beyond September, but so far this has been a struggle with up and down play from Heyward, Freeman, and McCann, inconsistent pitching, and the extremely fragility Chipper Jones.
Atlanta takes on the Orioles (who are no longer a joke) before heading to New York to take on the Yankees at home. If this club doesn’t gain some momentum against Baltimore, defeating the Yankees at home could prove to be a difficult task.