Last night was embarrassing. It was basically a classic April game, one where the score appears deceptively close for much of it despite the fact that you know in your bones — and the lollygagging stiffs with the A across their chest are frantically attempting to demonstrate with every shruggingly botched attempt — that are no more likely to win this game than to be cast in a remake of Damn Yankees.
I’m sure that someone somewhere has made an equally embarrassing drop of a fly ball than Matt Kemp did in left field last night — it may not even have been his worst play ever — but he basically overran the ball, put out his hand, looked away, and the ball literally clanked off his palm with two outs in the first inning. That was how the first two runs of the game scored.
And that was pretty much how Reynaldo Lopez won his second game in a week against Rob Whalen. Lopez isn’t a complete nobody, like the Phillies used to trot out every other week to dominate us (I still shudder when I think of the name “David Coggin“), he’s a top-100 pitching prospect. Ever since the Braves greeted him last weekend with a near-homer by Erick Aybar and an actual homer by Freddie Freeman in the first inning, Lopez has faced 53 Braves, given up eight hits, four walks, and two runs, and struck out 13. Lopez seems to have been able to make adjustments. Our bums couldn’t catch a cold.
And then there was the 8th inning. To wit:
(A. Vizcaino in to pitch) J. Werth: Single to C (Ground Ball to Front of Home) D. Murphy: Walk B. Harper: Walk A. Rendon: Hit by pitch; Werth Scores (M. Cabrera replaces Vizcaino) C. Robinson: Single; Murphy Scores D. Espinosa: Walk; Harper Scores (While Severino is batting): Passed ball; R. Scores P. Severino: Reached on E4 W. Difo: Flyout T. Turner: Sacrifice fly; Robinson scores C. Heisey: Foul popfly
That’s five runs on three walks, a hit by pitch, a passed ball, and exactly one hit that cleared the infield. Since going 10-4 in a nice little mini-run of good play from July 26 to August 9, during which the Braves outscored their opponents 66-49, the Braves have now gone 1-7 over their last eight games, including their current five-game skid, and they have been outscored 28 to 53. It’s awfully hard to win when your opponents are doubling your tally every night.
Now, I didn’t want to do this. But the Braves leave me no choice.