Would Not Have Called This a Week AgoBut it happened.
The Atlanta Braves managed to do just enough to beat back the best team in baseball – and did so three times this weekend, by counts of 7-2, 4-3, and 4-3.
Amazingly enough, the latter two were done while overcoming two of the best pitchers in the game this year: Sonny Gray and Jon Lester. June 7th was the only day this year in which both pitchers lost on the same day or consecutive days (Lester being with Boston then, of course). But no other team has managed to beat both pitchers at all, much less back-to-back during this season.
Maybe it’s because the A’s are slumping since trading Yoenis Cespedes. Maybe it’s because they’ve been on the road for a while. Maybe it’s because they’ve been playing better teams. Doesn’t matter: on this particular weekend, the Braves stepped up enough, stopped making silly mistakes… mostly… and held on for three desperately needed wins.
Here’s the stats:
Braves Initially Asked Cobb for $442 million [stadium]
The Atlanta Braves were hoping for more than just a new stadium with their first pitch to Cobb County officials….
[Editor's note: this is a subscriber-only story on the AJC site, though a 35 minute audio interview is available at the link above for all those interested. Personally, I think the AJC is trying to make a story that isn't a story: The Braves settled on a max outlay from Cobb County at $368 million for the $672m project. That's what happens with negotiations - you ask for X and generally accept X minus Y.]
Braves Sweep Aside Doubters With Big Weekend
ATLANTA — Anybody who had written off the Atlanta Braves as postseason contenders had all weekend to consider a retraction.
The Oakland Athletics arrived at Turner Field three nights ago with the best record in the Major Leagues. They left in a virtual tie for first place in the American League West after three straight losses to the Braves.
True, the Braves had lost 12 of their previous 15 games and their offense had struggled mightily in the process. This slump, combined with the improved play of the Washington Nationals had left the Braves six games out of first place in the NL East.
But they didn’t look like mere also-rans this weekend. In their three victories, the Braves produced strong pitching, timely hitting and solid defense. In other words, they played the way they should play.
[Editor's note: then again, this article is going a bit too far, in this writer's opinion. Yes, there was success. Yes, it will restore some confidence. No, it isn't a panacea that will wipe away all memories and failings of the prior 2-1/2 weeks. 'Nuff said. ]