The Braves came into the Pittsburgh Pirates series with a head of steam, they held the best record in baseball 12-2 coming off a sweep of divisional rivals Washington Nationals and splitting a two game series with the Kansas City Royals. They had one of the hottest hitters in the MLB with Justin Upton and a story that was rocking the baseball world in Evan Gattis. But with the wins totaling up, other numbers were staggering…And when we showed up at Pittsburgh, we ran into a brick wall.
On Thursday, the Braves needed a pinch hit home run by Gattis in the 8th inning to put them up 6-4. Friday they were blanketed by Wandy Rodriguez and didn’t score a single run off two hits. Both Thursday and Friday the team totaled seven strikeouts each night. On Saturday it got uglier, striking out 13 times only scoring one run on four hits and zero home runs. Then came Sunday afternoon, the bats continued to have a hole in them. They managed to get eight hits but mostly singles and weren’t able to capitalize when runners were on base. The team struck out 13 more times on Sunday and managed to put two runs on the board but again with zero home runs.
Its becoming a pattern…we live by the home runs and we die by the home runs.
I’ve always been a fan of the small ball approach…someone gets on, get them over then get them in. Moving runners around the bases the best you can. And the Braves seem to have this in their lineup with the speed of B.J. Upton, Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Andrelton Simmons. But three out of four have struggled to even get on base more less score runs. And it seemed like this weekend, the Braves were on the edge to play small ball but went back to the home run cuts when he needed base hits.
After the game Justin Upton said to the media “We just didn’t swing the bats well. We came out and did what we didn’t want to do, we swung at some pitches out of the zone and even the hits that we got, we kind of shortened those innings couple times. We just didn’t piece together the hits.”
When Coach Fredi Gonzalez approached the microphones he said ““Plenty, plenty of opportunities and we couldn’t get that broken bat single or the ball to the back of the screen to get a run in. That’s just the way it goes sometimes when you’re not swinging the bats like you’re capable of doing…..but the story is we didn’t swing the bats. We got some opportunities. There goes that theory about on-base. You’ve got to drive them in. What do we have 15 baserunners and only got two runs. You always want to win series. We didn’t do that here, now we head to Colorado and try to win that series.”
The Braves lost their first series of 2013 3-1 but still hold a 13-5 record heading into Colorado. I would say the Braves still hold the best record in baseball but I can’t. The Rockies have gone 8-2 in their last 10 games and are now tied with the Braves for the best record in the game at 13-5.
Another cold series for the Braves but hopefully the bats will warm up again.