Atlanta Braves Keep Battling
A day after losing to an inept umpiring crew at Turner Field, the Atlanta Braves made sure there was margin for error against the Milwaukee Brewers, and that Mister Magoo disguised in black would be powerless to determine their fate with a lousy call. It was not the sharpest outing of the year for Javier Vazquez, but he showed real moxy when it counted most, fastidisouly sifting through McCann’s signs like a music lover at a record store until finding gold. He got it in a sombrero when he struck out home run derby winner Prince Fielder four times.
You’d have to be Mister Magoo to not see that the Atlanta Braves have gone through a sea change. It started about a week before the all star break. Their offense finally awakened, but that’s only part of the story. They have taken on the look of a team that now expects to win. The trade whispers have come to a grinding hault (Javier Vazquez is going no where, folks), the once palpable desperation to acquire an outfield bat has evaporated, and during games, they are rebounding from setbacks that once proved too demoralizing to overcome. Two months ago, if Chipper Jones, and right after him Brian McCann, had come to the plate with bases loaded and failed to score, the game would be over. Not so, anymore. Rank and File guys like Martin Prado and Garrett Anderson have emerged as legitimate weapons who can pick up the marquee guys when they are scuffling.
And then there’s the enigmatic, mercurially tempered Yunel Escobar. During a season in which he has been publicly scorned by his own manager for lapses in focus and sloppy play, and constantly rumored to be on the trading block, Yunel has persevered–either in spite of said obstacles or because of them–to become a freak of nature at the plate. There may be no more dangerous hitter in the game right now with men in scoring position, save Albert Pujols. At times, the Braves’ unwavering dedication to some of its struggling players seems at best, misguided, and at worst ludicrous.
This time, however, patience is indeed a virtue. Thankfully, Yunel is still with us.
As is our hope of making the playoffs.