Apr 14, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla (26) celebrates his grand slam home run with center fielder B.J. Upton (2) and outfielder Justin Upton (8) in the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Braves defeated the Phillies, 9-6. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Dan Uggla's Slam Bam Thank You Phillies!

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Apr 14, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla (26) hits a grand slam home run in the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Braves defeated the Phillies, 9-6. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports


 
 

In short, the story that is evolving is that this Atlanta Braves’ team is for real! 

 

From Weird To Phenomenal!

We’ve been saying that our recaps are not going to be your normal recaps.  That’s fitting, especially in view of the fact that lately, none of the Braves’ games have been your normal games!  We’ve seen balls(s) stuck under fences, tackles on the baselines, lengthy replay challenges, games that last upwards of four hours, and much more!  Then just when you think it cannot get any more weird, or amazing, or spectacular – or whatever adjective your prefer, the Atlanta Braves make a last minute comeback in the 9th to win game 1 of the series against the Philadelphia Phillies.

 

Hot Pitching and Hotter Bats!

Oh my, where do I start with trying to impart my impressions of this game?  Let’s start with the amazing pitching of Ervin Santana, and then work our way quickly to the memorable finale of the game, and my impressions.

The Braves had a 5-1 lead and things looked quite comfortable behind the (once again) amazing command of Santana, who delivered 11 strikeouts over 6 innings, with  97 pitches.  Many fans, including myself, were a bit surprised even at 97 pitches that manager Fredi Gonzalez pulled Santana after just 6 innings.  My feeling was that Fredi would let him pitch at least one more half inning.  He was pulled though, and I’ll sum up what followed simply by remembering the disappointment I felt when relief gave up the 5-1 lead to fall to a 6-5 deficit to the Phillies.  You can look at the boxscore if you’d like, but I prefer for now to forget that part!

I’ve never been one to give up on the Braves, but human nature tells you at that point, no matter how many times you’ve seen the Braves pull off a last minute walk-off, that things look rather bleak.  I should know by now, and Braves fans all across Braves’ Country should know by now, that you can never count the Braves out!  Even after the disappointing loss of the lead late in the game, I had a gut feeling that Atlanta wasn’t done.  Philadelphia relief fared no better than Atlanta relief, and the Phillies managed to give up a loaded bases situation to the hard-hitting (lately) and dangerous Atlanta lineup.

As a fan, you had to assume at that point, with outs to spare, that the Braves would tie the game at the very least, but little did anyone know that the struggling Dan Uggla would step to the plate late in the game, with the bases loaded, and go yard with an amazing Grand Slam to put the Braves ahead 9-6, for the victory!  I tweet all night on Twitter for most games, and I’m surprised the excitement over that slam didn’t shut the Twitter network down!  My timeline was flying by at the speed of light over Dan and the Braves’ last-minute success!  It was a total thrill ride, as most of the games for the Braves have been of late.  The excitement was palpable!

 

Lasting Impression?

My overall impression of this game is a continuing story really – a story that at the least goes back  just a day to the Braves’ unexpected sweep of the Washington Nationals, but really goes back even further to a complete upswing in the Braves’ overall offense.  Bats are on fire now, starting pitching has been highly consistent and effective, and the only hiccups we’ve seen have been just a few by the bullpen.  In short, the story that is evolving is that this Atlanta Braves’ team is for real! 

Baseball is a funny and glorious game, and every year, just when I think I have my predictions and prognostications down to some sort of art, I realize that you just never know what you’re going to see, game-in, game-out, month-to-month, and season-to-season.  Everyone felt the Braves would be good, but few felt they would be as good as they currently are.  With all the talk of the injuries to the Nationals, we cannot help but remember all the huge setbacks (which now don’t seem like it so much) to Atlanta pitching.  The pitching is as good now as any team in baseball, and bats are beginning to follow along!

Braves’ fans – join with me and the staff at Tomahawk Take in our expressed wish that this isn’t just a passing fancy for our beloved team, but a trend that will keep trending all the way to October.  Go Braves!!

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