Cardinals vs. Braves Series Recap

This really needs no explanation, but Joe Mather trying to bunt this weekend was a strange combination of unintentional comedy and pure awfulness. Never again Fredi, never again.

After two tough losses to start the series, Atlanta managed to salvage at least one victory with a walk-off win Sunday afternoon. Here's the good, the bad, and the ugly from the series against the Cards.

The Good:

Brandon Beachy:

Even though he didn't record a win, Beachy had yet another great start for the Braves Saturday. Beachy went seven innings, giving up three hits and two runs, while walking only one and striking out five. After a rough outing against Florida on April 14th, Beachy has reeled off three straight good starts in a row. How good you ask? In these last three starts, he's pitched 19 innings while giving up only four earned runs. His K/BB ratio is a ridiculous 19/3 in his last three outings. 

Brandon Hicks:

After being up for 25 or so game with Atlanta and scoring eight runs without having a hit used mainly as a pinch runner, it was about time for Brandon to get his first major league hit. That hit came Sunday, and it couldn't have come at a better time as his single to left field drove in Joe Mather to cut the Cardinals lead to 4-3. Congrats to Brandon. 

Pinch hitters on Sunday:

After struggling all season getting success out of pinch hitters, Atlanta got a 3-3 performance off the bench from Hicks, Hinske, and Conrad on Sunday. 

Brooks Conrad:

Speaking of pinch hitters, Brooks was the best one of them all last season, but had struggled mightily so far this season. Let's hope Sunday started a turnaround, as it was truly great to see Brooks doing what he does best, getting clutch hits for this team. Late in ballgames last year, there was no pinch hitter better than Brooks, so let's hope his walk-off is a sign of good things to come.

Bad and ugly after the jump..

The Bad:

Freddie Freeman: 

After going on a hot streak for a little while, that came to a screeching halt against St. Louis as Freddie looked lost at the plate. What has impressed me the most about Freddie is his approach at the plate, but that approach was nowhere to be found. Freeman went 0-8 with 2 K's in the two games of series he played in, then got the day off Sunday.

Triples to Nick Punto and Gerald Laird:

Gerald Laird hadn't tripled since I think 2009, and he isn't exactly the speediest fellow in baseball, but leave it to Atlanta to give up a late inning clutch triple to him. Punto is somewhat of a better hitter, but he doesn't exactly strike fear in a pitcher at the plate. It hurts to lose games on late triples like this to players who shouldn't be hitting them. I think Laird is still hooked up to the oxygen tank after his dash around the bases Saturday. 

Chipper Jones:

1-10, 1 R, 3 BB, 2 K, 0 RBI. 

Brian McCann

3-13, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 0 RBI 

The Ugly

The Braves bullpen:

Atlanta's bullpen struggled to hold on to leads all weekend, and the pen was largely ineffective.Craig Kimbrel blew a save Friday and drew the loss Saturday, struggling to miss bats either time out. Four hits, two runs, and only one strikeout in 1.1 is not the Kimbrel we know. Cory Gearrin got hit around as well, earning the loss Friday after giving up two earned runs and walking two in 1.2 innings. Jonny Venters even struggled, as he failed to strand the two runners he inherited from Brandon Beachy on Saturday as he blew the save. 

Joe Mather Bunting:

Words may not be needed here. Just let it be known that Joe Mather has reached the majors without the ability to bunt the baseball. Fredi Gonzalez either doesn't know this or doesn't care. It got to the point Sunday where I felt bad for Mather. His best bunt of the series was the one that he fouled off that hurt Molina. 

Late Inning Strike Zones:

A questionable third strike call drew ire from Freeman during Friday's game in the ninth innings, and Alex Gonzalez had an even worse strike three call go against him Saturday. Both Alex and Fredi Gonzalez got ejected on Saturday arguing the call. Nothing really the Braves could do, but it was tough to see borderline calls go against us late in back-to-back games. 

Up next:

Atlanta welcomes the Milwaukee Brewers to Turner Field for a four-game series starting tonight.

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