Runs here, runs there, runs everywhere! A day game with a lineup that included Ryan Doumit hitting cleanup was just the tonic the Braves needed, as they more than doubled the total number of runs they had scored in the first five games of this homestand combined and managed to not get swept by the 5th place Phillies. Scoring 13 runs during a 6-game homestand sounds pretty bad, but considering where the Braves were after last night’s game, it’s actually pretty incredible.
Christian Bethancourt got the start in place of Evan Gattis (since last night’s game apparently went too long for El Oso to start today), and he made the most of it. He picked up an RBI in the second and scored on B.J. Upton’s home run (!), scored a run in the 4th, and added another RBI in the 5th for good measure. Bethancourt was not the only hitter to contribute; the entire offense suddenly rediscovered the location and purpose of home plate. Jason Heyward did not get a hit, but he did pick up an RBI on a groundout in the 4th, Freddie Freeman and Ryan Doumit both scored two runs, Tommy La Stella went 1-for-2 with an RBI, and B.J. Upton got in on the fun with the aforementioned homerun.
The Braves only had seven hits (only! I would have taken 1/7 of that on Monday) to go with their seven runs, but they combined those with a costly Chase Utley error and nine walks, including two to Chris Johnson, which is a month’s worth of walks for him (literally, check out May and June).
Ervin Santana started the game and wasn’t his sharpest, giving up four runs over six innings. Twice he let the Phillies tie it up and twice his offense got him off the hook. I hope the other starters don’t come to resent him for hogging all the runs (he was the beneficiary of 12 of the Braves runs scored on this homestand; the rest of the starters got one combined). Chasen Shreve and David Carpenter bridged the gap to Craig Kimbrel and his shiny gold shoes, who earned his 42nd save of the year.
Even with the offensive ineptitude of the past four days, the Braves still only sit a game out of the Wild Card. The mediocrity of the National League this year is simply astounding. Over the past ten games, Washington is 5-5, St. Louis and Los Angeles are 6-4, Milwaukee is 2-8, and Pittsburgh is 4-6. The Braves 5-5 record fits right in. Among contending teams, only San Francisco (7-3) appears to be interested in making a run. If the Braves suddenly catch fire and Aaron Harang shares his pixie dust with the rest of the team, this team of all Braves teams could be the one to win the World Series, because, that’s baseball. You just never know.
Every team that is not Atlanta delenda est.
Natspo(s) maximus delenda est.