Despite going into the game on one of the worst short-term offensive runs that the team has ever seen and also going into the game with a lineup that wasn't expected to do much, the Braves defied the odds and put 7 runs on the board. 3 of those runs came in the 2nd inning, when a rally started by Ryan Doumit (of course) culminated with B.J. Upton (yes, the other Upton) hitting a 2-run homer (seriously!) to give the Braves 3 for the inning and the lead. The Braves and Phillies passed the lead back-and-forth until the 5th inning, which is when the Braves took the lead for good.
One reason why Ryan Doumit made the start yesterday (and was inexplicably batting cleanup. It worked because the blind squirrel in Fredi's brain has been hitting the jackpot when it comes to finding nuts as of late) is because Justin Upton had to sit it out, not because of rest but because he was banged up with a bruised triceps. However, the manager himself said that Justin Upton had a 50/50 chance of playing, and is confident that Good Upton will be ready to play tomorrow.
Christian Bethancourt had himself a pretty nice day at the plate yesterday, as he bagged 3 singles and a couple of RBIs during the Braves relative avalanche of offense yesterday. Bethancourt's progress is especially pleasing considering that this is proof that the young catcher who has spent most of this season in the suburbs in Gwinnett is clearly ready to play at the Major League level now and for the rest of his career. As he told the AJC, Bethancourt is pleased that his labor in the minors is beginning to bear fruit:
"I think I was always the same guy on and off the field and my work," Bethancourt said. "I never changed my work. I was always doing the same routine, my same approach, the same stuff I do in the batting cage before the game. This is stuff I have been doing for four or five years and my (results) are finally showing some progress."
Yesterday was Strike Out Cancer Day around Major League Baseball, and all of the Braves players got into it and showed their support for the cause by wearing t-shirts designed for the occasion. Craig Kimbrel took it one step further by wearing special gold cleats for the day. From the AJC's article:
Amazingly, despite the fact that the Braves have already lost as many games as they did last season and despite the fact that they've played pretty poorly in the 2nd half of the season, Atlanta is now only a half-game out of a playoff spot because the National League is a hot mess this season. The latest team to catch the "We Stink Now" bug is the Milwaukee Brewers, who are currently in the throes of a collapse after suffering a sweep at the hands of the Chicago Cubs. The Brewers have gone from leading the NL Central nearly from wire-to-wire to now having to fight and claw for a spot in October. Milwaukee has now lost 8 straight games (sound familiar?) and they now have a lovely trip to St. Louis for a 4-game series to look forward to. That's definitely one series worth keeping an eye on.
Meanwhile, the Giants lead in the Wild Card race is now at 2.5 games, mostly because they had yet another frustrating series in Denver against the Rockies. No matter when these 2 teams meet up, it always seems like the road team absolutely hates life in the home team's ballpark, as evidenced by this lead-in by Grant Brisbee over at McCovey Chronicles:
The first thing to remember about Coors Field is that the Giants don't have to play there for months. Months. Hundreds of days will pass between now and the next time you have to watch a baseball game in Colorado. The Giants will get on an airplane and fly away, far away.