Sunday, May 13, 2012

Good Teams Fight Back

This Braves team has something special.  They're resilient.  They don't panic, they fight back and they don't give up.  I'm not saying that past Braves squads haven't been this way, but this group has a little something extra.  An extra spark.  Some oomph.  That certain je ne sais quoi.  More something.  A lot of words can be used to describe it.  I can't quite put my finger on it but whatever it is, I really like it!  Wait, it just hit me.  Clutch!

I've been planning on writing this post for well over a week, since that amazing Wednesday night win versus the Phillies.  Then there was the Colorado series.  And now the St. Louis series.  The comebacks keep coming.  This is the team I know and love.  This is what Braves baseball is all about.

The Wednesday Phillies game had me on the edge of my couch.  Coming back from a 6-0 and then a 12-8 deficit, going into extras and then the game being capped off with Chipper's walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th had me barely able to sleep.  It was almost poetic having Chipper tap that final nail in the Philly coffin with his walk-off home run.  My only worry at that end of that game was the crazed mob of Braves players waiting for Chipper at home plate.  I caught myself saying aloud, "Don't hurt him!  Don't hurt him!"   What a game!  Not only the two comebacks, but knocking Roy Halliday out of the game early and never looking beaten.  There was so much confidence in that dugout.  Those are the Atlanta Braves I know and love.

And then the Colorado series.  A sweep?  Seriously?  I keep my expectations realistic when the Braves are in Denver, for obvious reasons.  But coming back from being down 5-0 to win 9-8 in 11 off of an Eric Hinske home run in Friday's game and then Saturday coming back from a 6-2 deficit to win 13-9, fueled by back-to-back home runs from Matt Diaz and Jason Heyward and an angered Chipper Jones.  Wow!

Now the Braves are in the middle of a series facing the best hitting team in the National League and reigning World Series champs, the St. Louis Cardinals.  The Braves hadn't won at Busch Stadium since 2009.  Friday night's 9-7 come back win in the twelfth included a Jason Heyward 2-run homer, the first save in Livan Hernandez's long career and a stellar bullpen performance which had the Cards leaving the bases loaded twice.  The Braves are finding ways to win and it's coming from everyone.  Everyone is making big contributions.

We've seen Dan Uggla start the season as the Dan Uggla we expected when the Braves signed him.  We're watching Jason Heyward put last season in the rear view mirror.  We're wishing we had Michael Bourn all of last season and hoping the Braves re-sign him at the end of this year.  We're witnessing Mike Minor and Brandon Beachy mature before our very eyes.  We're watching Freddie Freeman campaign for his first All-Star appearance and Tyler Pastornicky working hard to prove that the Braves chose the right shortstop.  We're seeing amazing performances off the bench from Eric Hinke, Matt Diaz and Jack Wilson.  And we're watching Chipper Jones do what he has always done, lead the time by example.

And as an aside, I love it when Chipper gets ticked off.  His reaction and comments to Jamie Moyers' sign stealing accusations were priceless and spot on.  Yes Chipper, the Braves do play the game the right way.

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