Tonight’s game is a perfect test for Julio, especially if we have any intention of trading him to the Giants. Ever since Rob set the bar, I want Julio to get his seven straight good outings in a row to create some trade value. Considering we’d love to get MadBum and Smith from the Giants, Julio’s performance at Oracle Park could help promote a trade. That also leaves another question hanging in the air; if Julio is pitching better than MadBum, which one is the better one to have?
Of course, I had to watch the game from the very first pitch because, well, you know why. Unfortunately, Ronald struck out. Even without the daily Acuna leadoff HR, the Braves scored a run in the first on a Markakis RBI double. Naturally, Julio gave it right back. And he gave it back without throwing a pitch more than 87mph. He didn’t hit 90mph until he struck out Crawford to end the first. What happened to those 2 extra mph that Julio found?
Julio and the Giants’ pitcher, Shaun Anderson, traded zeros for a few innings until the sixth when the Braves scratched a run using two sac flies. Julio ended up going 5.2 innings and by the end was throwing harder than the beginning (up to about 91). He was shaky the whole time and, in my opinion, the Giants inability to hit is the only thing that saved him. Still, it’s hard to argue with 5.2 innings, 1 run, 3 hits, 3 walks, and 6 Ks. I’ll give him a thumbs up.
Thank goodness Blevins had only one out to get as he allowed a hard hit ball. Kakes had to make a great catch on it to end the 6th. The Braves tried to put up a rally in the 7th but ended up only with Freddie’s RBI single for a 3-1 lead. So our bullpen was going to have to protect a 2 run lead for three innings. Unfortunately, I was wrong about my prior statement on Blevins and he was back out to start the 7th. Even though, the next hitter was a lefty, Blevins allowed a bloop single. At that point, Snit brought Touki in. Touki was fabulous; a DP and a strikeout and the inning was over. Touki like Newk is looking like found gold; ya gotta love them both as part of our pen.
Webb did fine in the 8th but, apparently, a 2 run lead is still not enough Luke Leverage. I’m not sure that Luke really did anything wrong, but he is no Kimbrel and for three batters in a row, he could not get a third strike. He couldn’t even get a playable ball as three straight singles (four singles total in the inning) with two outs led to a killer 3-run rally that walked it off for the Giants. It sure didn’t help that the Braves could not steal an out by throwing out a stealing runner. But, just like last year, the Braves are worst (or second worst) in the majors at catching baserunners stealing.
Three morals for the night: 1) Tuesdays suck (Braves now 1-6) and 2) Sign Kimbrel and 3) West Coast game times combined with Tuesday night make for a horrible Wednesday morning.