Milwaukee Brewers 9 Atlanta Braves 0
Milwaukee Brewers 4 Atlanta Braves 2
Milwaukee Brewers 0 Atlanta Braves 5
MVPs of the Series:
Prince Fielder: 4/12; 3 HRs, 4 RBIs, 3 Rs
Jorge Campillo: 7 IP, 6 H, 6 K (W)
Prince Fielder has found his power stroke once again, and it comes in looking like that easy swing that I'm so used to checking out. It's really fun to watch Prince swing out of his shoes because of the power her conjure up with that big frame of his. But the fact of the matter is that those swings don't often make contact. This weekend's three homeruns were things of beauty. Simple, balanced and compact swings that sent the ball far far away. If Prince can stick to this type of swing, he may in fact get to that 40 HR plateau that I predicted this offseason.
Nobody was really impressive this weekend as far as the offense goes, so I'm going to go to the man who single handedly put the Brewers biggest weakness on display and gave the Braves their only victory in the series. The media has completely disregarded Campillo this season because of his soft 6-4 record, but let's be honest here. A 2.58 ERA in 108 IP is not something to be scoffed at. He's only started 15 games this year, which doesn't help his record any, and hasn't received nearly the amount of support most solid pitchers get. Nevertheless, his stuff is deceiving as hell and his propensity to throw strikes has gotten him the benefit of the doubt on a lot of pitches.
What was the Difference?:
The offense, more specifically the long ball. The Braves launched a total of zero homeruns this weekend, while the Brewers threw up four long balls, resulting in six runs, which was enough to win both Friday and Saturday. The lack of a long ball on Sunday and a game where manufacturing runs was a necessity, the Braves destroyed the Brewers. Go figure.
Causes for Concern:
It's hard to really be concerned about the Braves right now. They've given up on the season and for very good reason. Chipper Jones, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Tim Hudson are all on the DL. Toss in the trade of Mark Texeira before the deadline and the injury of Brian McCann, and the Braves have nothing to offer on the mound or at the plate. That's a concern in itself, but the real concern lies in the bullpen. The Braves are going to have a hard time next season unless they find a way to solidify that relief corps. The only reasonable guys in there are Will Ohman and Mike Gonzalez. But Ohman is out next season, leaving guys like Buddy Carlyle and Jeff Bennett to pick up the slack. Gag.
Sometimes it's just ridiculous to listen to Ned Yost from day to day. I'm not going to go after Yost here, maybe another post, but Yost basically states bluntly what's wrong with his team and then defends them. This weekend during the game on Fox, Yost promptly defended his team as a homerun team and says that, 'You can't teach power,'. And he's right, you can't. But does any one remember the Cubs series when he stated that this team just wasn't able to manufacture runs? Yost, WE KNOW! We've been saying it all season. No walks and zero situational hitting makes the Brewers a very inconsistent squad. When a guy like Campillo, who gives up very few dingers, toes the rubber, you have to make an adjustment. Either move up on the plate or sit dead on a changeup or curveball. The Brewers had plenty of opportunities to the narrow the margin on Sunday, but struck out every time a runner was on third base.
Causes for Excitement:
Obviously Jorge Campillo has to make the Braves happy campers, but I'm going to say the biggest surprise of the year for me is Gregor Blanco. In his first full season and only appearance in the big leagues this year, Blanco is hitting a solid .266/.370/.328. Obviously the slugging leaves a lot to be desired, but Blanco is clearly the lead off hitter of this team for a few years. He offers a ton of intangibles and will slowly improve on his base stealing abilities. Other than that, the Braves are in rough shape with all of their stars on the DL.
There was something very promising about Suppan's start on Friday. Twelve ground ball outs, and seven shutout innings makes you wonder if second half Soup is on yet again. I didn't get to watch a lot of the game, and I know the Braves' offense is running half empty, but the bite to Jeff's pitches was back and his command was pretty solid, with the exception of the fourth inning. Other than that, Prince Fielder is offering up another show. We knew that at some point he was start going on a tear. Fans couldn't wait though and have been going for his throat all season. I know I've said trade him in the off season, but not because of his play. More because he's a big contract next season and a liability at first base. But Prince has been solid all season and leads the team, as he has all season, in OBP and may single handedly will this team to a few more victories like he did on Saturday.