The Texans started out this game the same way they ended the last one, with a pick-6 by Matt Schaub. It was pretty well-timed, too. Chris Collinsworth had just made a joke about Schaub having tied the record for consecutive games with a pick-six with John Elway and Peyton Manning. From there, the game–
Wait, there’s another game I’m supposed to be recapping? Are you sure? I think I’d rather recap Sunday Night Football….
Fine. Whatever. Here ya go. I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY.
The Braves started out the game doing what they needed to to put themselves in a position to win. They scored two runs on singles from Evan Gattis and Chris Johnson. Andrelton left two on, but you felt pretty good. Then Julio Teheran had a rough first inning, not locating anything very well at all and giving up fly ball outs where the batter makes faces like, “Damn, I just missed smashing that!” But still, he made it through unscathed and you thought if he just settles down a bit and locates the FB better, we’ll be in great shape. The Braves did nothing in the top of the second, however, and Teheran in fact was not okay.
It’s just one of those things. He wasn’t facing sluggers, and he was getting strikeouts, but… it was always on the edge of a knife. And after allowing one run on an sacrifice fly to the pitcher (this after walking AJ Ellis who I’m sure calls a great game but isn’t supposed to be an offensive threat despite all evidence in this series to the contrary), the game tipped as Carl Crawford lined one out over the right-center field fence. Lead gone, 4-2 Trolly Folk.
Now, let’s be real. The offense didn’t just turn over and play dead after Teheran gave up this lead. In the top of the 3rd, they rallied back, plating two more on a Brian McCann groundout and a Chris Johnson should’ve-been-a-groundout. These were defensive botches by the Dodgers. They should’ve recorded three total outs on these two plays but instead got just one. So while the Braves tied it, it’s not like they were mashing it or anything.
So, with his early jitters worked out and the score equalized, Teheran went back to work… and promptly gave up two more runs before being pulled for Alex Wood. Wood did great to get out a 2nd-and-3rd, two out situation, but the next inning, he gave up four more in the 4th. This put the score at 10-4 Dodgers, and since Chris Capuano had come into the game, everyone decided it was basically over. And it was. The Dodgers tacked on two more meaningless runs off various bullpen denizens in the 8th, and Jason Heyward homered (he’s now 3 for like 13 or something) in the top of the 9th also plating ReEd Johnson to give us the final. This 9th inning ralley (which Heyward preemptively killed) actually got Mattingly to bring in his closer with a 7 run lead and two outs. So I guess there’s that.
I want to chalk the shitty pitching up to two rookies having their first appearance i the playoffs. But that doesn’t make it any less disappointing. I was actually anticipating a really good show from Teheran. He’s been on quite a roll of late, and I thought he’d be really into it for these playoffs. Turns out, all that excitement/energy just turned into losing his delivery, not locating the FB well, and a completely ineffective slider. We’ll call it a learning experience, and hope he’s better next time.
Speaking of “hoping” and “next time”, if the Braves want to take the series back to Atlanta, they’ll have to win tomorrow with Freddy Garcia on the mound. Hey, stranger things have happened. In the meantime, Hanley Ramirez has clearly been the best player in the series and it hasn’t been close. If there is to be hope, Atlanta will need to find a way to keep him from hitting extra-base hits each time he comes to the plate. I’m not sure if Garcia will be able to do that, but at least we know that if he doesn’t it’ll be because he sucks and not first time rookie jitters or whatever.
Now let’s get it done tomorrow, Braves!