Braves vs. Cardinals Series Recap

It wasn't the greatest series but it wasn't the worst either. Ties are boring, but at least the Braves are still within striking distance as the final weeks of the season approach. The team didn't particularly pitch or hit well, but the bullpen was at least fairly solid. The Cardinals are a tough team even if they don't make the playoffs, so a split is not the end of the world.

Game 1 recap
Game 2 recap
Game 3 recap
Game 4 recap

Things We Liked:

Nate McLouth: McLouth went 6-11 with a double, a triple, two homers, and two walks this series. This was a breakout series for Nate who seems to have finally gotten things together. He has the most potential for any outfielder aside from Jason Heyward, so him starting to heat up could be great for this offense.

Tommy Hanson: Hanson pitched 7 innings with two runs allowed in his start on Saturday. Tommy struck out five and walked two. He was also the only starter for the Braves to throw a quality start this series. He hasn't been too great lately so a start like this is good to see. 

Craig Kimbrel: Kimbrel pitched three scoreless innings with six strikeouts and no base runners allowed. This was Craig's coming out party. It's great to see the young fireballer have such success and especially great since he didn't walk any batters. He showed why he could be a great closer in this league over these three appearances.

Jason Heyward: Heyward hit a home run and two doubles in the series and drove in a run in every game except last night's. He's been scorching for a while -- now if only the rest of the offense would join him. Many are asking for him to be moved to the third spot, but he's producing great batting second and should stay there.

Alex Gonzalez: Gonzalez had a hit in each game, including a walk-off home run in the third game and three hits in the final game. He's been hitting the ball well and is one of the most reliable sources of power on this offense, which is not necessarily a good thing. 

Things We Didn't Like:

Tim Hudson, Mike Minor, and Jair Jurrjens: None of them pitched well in their starts. The Braves were fortunate to have a huge inning against Chris Carpenter or else they would have likely lost the series. Both Jurrjens and Hudson allowed more runs than innings pitched, making it very tough on the offense all weekend.

Left Field: Melky Cabrera started three games and Eric Hinske with one, with them getting two hits combined in their starts. Hinske had a big single before Gonzalez's walk-off, but for the most part these bats were quiet. The Braves need to start getting some production from that position. You can't afford to have three middle infield bats playing every day and left field not producing at all, you just can't.

Jonny Venters: The overworked lefty is likely just experiencing a small rough patch. He allowed runs to score in both appearances, although Martin Prado's poor throw to second base led to his only run allowed in the second game.

Number of the series: 5

That's the amount of errors the Braves had in these four games. It's getting absurd and it is occurring at each and every position. Whether it's a misplayed ball, a poor throw, or a flat out mental error, the defense is a problem and has been for quite some time. This needs to change as the season winds down. If the defense starts simply making the plays they are expected to play and not giving runners extra bases then they should be able to hold on to their playoff spot.

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