Last Wednesday the Braves were celebrating a sweep of the Mets at Turner Field. This Wednesday the Mets are close to completing a sweep of their own at Citi Field. If the Nationals/Orioles score holds, the Mets, of all people, will have pushed us to second place in the division, which is nothing short of embarrassing.
The only thing worse than losing to the Mets is being swept by them. We have one more shot tomorrow to keep that from happening.
Ervin Santana gave up one run on two hits in the first, then settled down until the bottom of the 7th, when he gave up another run after Justin Upton decided to let David Wright take second on a single to left after Upton appeared to be in no hurry to return the ball to the infield. Wright scored on a Kirk Nieuwenhuis sacrifice fly and Travis D’Arnaud followed that up with a two-run home run that sealed the deal.
Santana picked up a two-out single in the sixth and scored the Braves’ only run when BJ doubled him home. The Braves did bring the tying run to the plate in the 8th and 9th innings, but in typical Barves fashion, they managed to have nothing to show for either attempt, and that was that.
Miserable game, miserable series.
Voting to send Justin to the All-Star game ends tomorrow at 4:00, and he currently sits in third place. I think that’s where he’ll probably end up in the final tally for several reasons. The Braves are mired in a four-game losing streak, which doesn’t build excitement for a fan base to want to spend their time texting/tweeting/voting away. Also, Justin Upton is no Freddie Freeman. Justin is a good player (okay, probably more of a great player, until he pulls a boneheaded play like he pulled in the 7th tonight), but Freddie is a fan favorite and he had several things going for him last year. ESPN had already named Puig the winner before voting even started, which I think did more to motivate Braves fans to vote for Freddie than anything else. Additionally, Freddie’s hugs were kind of the symbol of the team last year, and who can forget the picture that surfaced of Freddie holding the sign that said “Hey, ‘Merica, Vote Freeman 4 ASG”? The pictures of Justin blowing a bubble just do not carry the same charm.
The last factor to consider here is a rather unfortunate one, and I think it’s one of the key reasons Braves fans do not have a higher opinion of Justin. It all boils down to one simple truth: he’s brothers with BJ. I know he can’t help that, but I wonder if BJ wasn’t around stinking up the joint for the past two seasons and we had just Justin if we wouldn’t all think a little more highly of him. I just kind of wince when I hear “Upton”, and immediately think of how awful BJ has been and how much money we’re putting into a guy who hits .200 and sometimes forgets how to catch (or run after) the ball. For me, Justin is usually an afterthought, in a “oh, yeah, we do have a good Upton, too” kind of way.
All that being said, I’ll probably cast a few more votes for him before voting ends. He’d be a sub, so he won’t see much playing time at the ASG anyway. I have more concern about our pitchers pitching in that game than I do about any position players playing. Also, I like seeing Braves at the ASG, and I hated the years we only had one guy there (wasn’t McCann a lone representative one year, and he didn’t even get into the game?) While I hope Justin wins this vote, I can say with some confidence that I’ll be shocked if he does.
Natspo(s) delenda est.