No, not tonight. After performing well to squeeze out close run victories in the first two games of this series we stumbled big time tonight and can have no quarrel with a three run loss and our score sheet blank. We were essentially out played in every section of the game. Let’s break it down.
STARTING PITCHING… No quarrel with what was put out by our new boy, Kevin Gausman, whose final line was 5 IP 6 hits 3 runs 3 earned runs, 2 strikeouts. Note if you will the absence of any number there that might suggest defensive errors contributed to the runs he gave up. There should have been. The strikeouts seem disappointing for the pace he carries, maybe, but didn’t they say that was his way? For a first start we’ll take it and let the wiz boys work his stuff over.
Chip had warned us ab initio Zack Wheeler was pitching better than de Grom and he was proved right. He started off with 3 bombs past a befuddled Acuna and went on from there mixing high 90’s with great secondary pitches which he seemed to be able to locate with ease. Hard to cavil at this young man’s success after the last hellish two or three years of pain. Georgia, you know, tough!
BULLPEN… Carle/Venters/Fried, collectively 3 innings, 2 hits, no runs, no walks, 5 strike outs. Solid and with one stand out performer, Venters. Lovely to watch. Hard, 93/4, low, aimed like a dart. If only we can keep him like this with judicious, disciplined use. Great to have him back.
OFFENSE.. Yuk. 5 hits, 1 walk, 10 strike outs. Freddie had two of the hits, Duvall another, pinch hitting late. Wheeler otherwise had them reaching all night.
DEFENSE…a very good pitcher at the top of his game is a force you cannot control, everyday defense both infield and outfield is something the Braves pride themselves on and you can and it was absent this evening, pretty much across the board. Two of the three runs could have been nipped in the bud- Camargo with bases loaded got psyched out by Frazier at third, bases loaded, for the first run. For the third Acuna made an appalling play and throw on a soft shallow fly ball which allowed the third run to beat the catcher. (His hitting was nowhere tonight, it could be he is simply tired and needing a break. The thought of not starting him of course fills the entire fan base with horror!)
Suitably chastened we should win tomorrow and move on to those 27 games Joe told us we play against contending teams as opposed to our rival’s 10. Who set that up!