Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants = playoff atmosphere
Three games into the Braves and Giants series and you can sense that the meaning and weight of the games are intensifying. Fans of baseball should have loved this series thus far.
Game one: two starters who have been stellar in their short careers. Jair Jurrjens vs. Tim Lincecum. The past two Cy Young awards and Jair who was coming off his best season to date. While he has been a little slow this year because of injury, he has come on strong after a DL stint sidelined him for most of the first half of the year. Both pitched extremely well. Jair benefited by keeping the ball in the ballpark. Lincecum threw two bad pitches and got the loss. Alex Gonzalez hit a two-run homer and Eric Hinske hit what became the winning home run.
Game two: Barry Zito vs. Tommy Hanson. Zito is enjoying a nice rebound year after pitching horribly in San Francisco for the first three years of his contract. Tommy Hanson is part of the Braves’ rotation of the future. All the hype he endured coming up last season and replacing the now enshrined Tom Glavine in the Braves Hall of Fame (and in the near future, Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame). The Braves struck again with the long ball and had the Giants on the ropes. But, Chipper Jones and Alex Gonzalez, the duo who gave the Braves the offense to win the game, made two costly errors in the 9th to allow the Giants to tie the game. The Giants got just enough offense to steal this game away from the best bullpen in the majors or the Braves gave them just enough for a win.
Game three: Matt Cain and Tim Hudson. Hudson came into the game fourth in the NL in ERA at 2.36. Matt Cain came into the game 10th in ERA at 2.98. The Braves chased Cain after 5 innings and had a 3-0 lead. The way Tim Hudson has been pitching, the game was over after the Braves scored three runs in the 4th inning.
Three games, 13 total runs. The Braves lead the NL East and the Giants lead the NL Wild Card. The playoffs are on everyone’s minds. Each play, each at bat, each pitch is so much more meaningful. All we need now is a little cooler temperatures.