There has to be something wrong with me. I must have totally screwed up my biorhythm. And I was so excited for tonight’s game thinking I could be the guy that recaps on the night the Braves clinch at least a tie for the division. I had the recap half written in my head with some clever song lyrics. But, of course, we still had to actually play the game. And, you know, the game started out great. The Braves, who have a history of beating up on Vince Velasquez, beat up on Vince Velasquez for two runs in the bottom of the first. An Ozzie triple, Freddie walk, JD sac fly, and two singles by Markakis and Joyce was a nice beginning. And Dallas Keuchel gave us three nearly perfect innings (one hit) with some stellar defense behind him.
At this point, the game got strange. First, I see that Kendrick hits a HR to put the gNats up on the Cards 2-1, hurting that part of my evening. Then, after getting a quick GO from JTR, the fun began. For whatever reason I’ll never know, Donaldson came halfway across the diamond (shift adjusted) to try and field an easy ground ball that Dansby would have not had to move more than a step to field. He booted it in what the official scorer called a hit (are you kidding me?? I can count the ways on two hands that was multiple types of errors). JD surprised Dansby so badly that he didn’t know how to react. Naturally, what happened next was a HR by Hoskins who was barely hitting Mendoza levels since the ASB.
Now this HR would not have been so bad as a solo shot, but a 2-run job tied the game. And on the very next play, Keuchel, himself, deflected ANOTHER easy grounder to Dansby for another IF hit. After that Keuchel was clearly affected and laboring. And the result was a SeanRod single with Kingery going from first to third, a run-scoring GO by CesarH, and a HR by Pirela. Jose Pirela was a guy just added to take the place of an injured Corey Dickerson. He hadn’t stuck in the majors all year while hitting close to .200 and had 0 HRs this year before tonight. Like Rafael Ortega, Pirela had a great year at AAA, though. 5-2 Phils now.
The Braves started using their extra hitters in the 8th and they came through where the starters couldn’t. Hechavarria hit a PH solo shot in the 8th and Duvall led off the 9th with a solo shot to make it a one run game. Ronald made it exciting with a walk and a SB. Ozzie got him over to 3rd with one out. But Donaldson struck out and Markakis popped out and the game was over. No magic tonight.
After the first inning, the Braves regulars hit pitifully including 13 strikeouts. The Braves blew multiple opportunities but almost all were with two out and we were 1/10 with RISP. Our bullpen was OK; their bullpen was OK. The whole difference was the one run which should be unearned on Donaldson’s gaffe in the 4th. The gNats scored 2 more runs in the 8th and one in the 9th to beat the Cards 6-2. The Braves lost 5-4. I guess someone else will have the honor of recapping on clinch night. Sigh.