Kenshin Kawakami is never going to win another game. It’s obvious. Not that he was all that great, delivering only a minimal quality start (6 IP, 3 R on 7 H, 2 K/0 BB) but he was never in danger of winning the game after relinquishing a 2-1 lead in the third. Any chance of even getting him off the hook was lost with another one of Bobby’s mystical decisions, this time with the bullpen.
The Braves got the first two men on in the first, but Chipper, on a “defensive” two-strike swing, grounded into a double play to end the threat, which is the sort of thing that keeps happening. Marlins leadoff man Chris Coghlan (who has been awful coming off his ROY campaign last year) led off the game with a double and came home two batters later on a single.
The Braves got a big hit in the third when McCann hit a two-out double into the leftfield gap (it would have been a triple with anyone else running) which scored Kawakami from third and Chipper all the way from first (see, I told you about the triple thing). And then, Hibernation Mode. Kawakami gave up the lead practically instantaneously; I think Cameron Maybin’s solo homer was hit while Maybin was still walking to the plate.
The big play of the game might have been a bunt. The Marlins got their first two men on in the fifth on a pair of singles. Then Anibal Sanchez got a two-strike bunt down to move them up, and the lead runner scored on a groundout. Sanchez bunts foul, that run doesn’t score, and Bobby presumably doesn’t put the White Flag into the game, as he did after the Braves blew a golden chance to score in the seventh, leaving the bases loaded when Chipper hit a liner right at the third baseman.
Chavez pitched around an error and a walk in the seventh, then pitched the eighth like the aspiring journeyman he is, giving up a single and walking the next man to bring up… Commando Cody Ross. The chances of Ross not doubling to right field to score two runs in that situation are slim, with the next-most-likely scenario being a three-run homer. And Bobby, who apparently has completely given up on the Braves rallying — despite all the comeback victories — brought in Cristhian “The Lisp” Martinez to allow Ross to score on a single.
But it’s not like the Braves had any chance, right? Not with the pitcher’s spot (and hot-hitting pinch-hitter Brooks Conrad) due up second, and Martin Prado (and his .314 average and .369 on-base percentage and two hits already that night) third, and Jason Heyward (and all his heroics) due up fourth in the ninth. Sure enough, Conrad hit an infield single, then Prado doubled, then Heyward singled them both home, which would have been nice if the game had still been 3-2. And before you say it, this was against the Marlins’ closer.
For the life of me, I can not understand why managers manage games in which they’re a run down like they do. Bobby’s not alone here. Bringing in the last two guys in your bullpen — after an off day, against a team in your own division which has now passed you in the standings — in a one-run game is foolishness in the highest order. He’ll use Moylan to pitch against the bottom of the freaking Brewers order with a two-run lead the day after pitching in another blowout, but he won’t use him to keep a 3-2 game close against a division rival? I can’t stand it.