ESPN Box Score
A Julio Teheran v. Zack Wheeler matchup lived up to its billing, and the early innings sped right along while, as Don Sutton put it, both were pitching as if they were double parked.
Jason Heyward led off the game with a home run to left off Wheeler (I find it a little weird that both New York teams have a Z. Wheeler this year, the only two such players in MLB history. I know that’s completely irrelevant, but when the Braves aren’t giving you much on the field to keep you interested, you have to get creative.)
In the second, Wilmer Flores tied the game with a home run of his own. The Braves, however, wasted no time in taking the lead back the following inning, when Phil Gosselin singled, Freddie Freeman doubled, and Justin Upton grounded out to score Gosselin for a 2-1 lead. El Oso then hit a grounder to short, which Ruben Tejada failed to catch, allowing Freeman to cross with the Braves third run.
After giving up the homer, Teheran kept the Mets hitless through the 6th, allowing only a walk to mar his consecutive batters retired streak. He left in the 7th with one out and two on, and David Carpenter finished the inning without incident.
Jordan Walden pitched the 8th and made things interesting, giving up a hit, a walk, and a hit to allow the Mets to get within one run. A double play later, Andrelton Simmons saved the game with one of the best plays of his career. My thought process went “Dang! Tied game. Wait, wow, Simba got to that ball. Woah, he’s going to throw the ball. He…he…HE GOT THE OUT!!”
In the 9th, Craig Kimbrel didn’t want to make things too easy, allowing a hit and then falling behind 3-0 on the next hitter before walking him. A sacrifice bunt later, Gosselin got Eric Campbell out at the plate easily after the latter went on contact against a drawn in Braves infield. A popup later, Simba’s play had officially saved the game, and the Braves are once again tied with the Pirates a game out of a playoff spot. If the Braves grab a wildcard spot by one game this year, I think we can safely point to Andrelton as the reason why they made it. Seriously, if you didn’t see it, here’s the link one more time. You really don’t want to miss that one.
I’ve been trying to figure out how the 2013 Braves team was one of my favorite teams ever (I seriously loved that team) while the 2014 team has become one of the hardest for me to root for (I started watching in 1995, so I have no clue what it was like to root for a 70s or 80s team…) I mean, Uggla is the only everyday player who is no longer here, and last year these guys were a lovable bunch. The pitching staff and bench are nearly completely different, but a team’s bench has little bearing on how interesting the team is, and the pitching staff has not been the problem. My affection for the team started to wane with all of the weirdness at the end of last season (no one catching Chipper’s ceremonial first pitch, the team not feeling united in the Division Series, etc.), was somewhat revived with the rash of extensions that happened in February, but has been sorely lacking since Medlen went down. I was also a pretty big fan of Hudson and EOF, but I wouldn’t have thought their absences would affect how I feel about the whole team. Even when the Braves were more middle of the road at the end of last decade, I never felt so uninspired watching a game. What a weird season this has been.
Pirates, Giants, and Cardinals delenda est.
Natspo(s) SEMPER delenda est.