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The Morning Aftermath: Reexamining The Braves Game One Loss To The Giants

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Upon reflection of last night's game, I feel the Braves essentially got no-hit. Here is the comparison between Roy Halladay's postseason no-hitter and Tim Lincecum's start last night:

Roy Halladay on 10/6
Tim Lincecum on 10/7

Yep, it might as well have been a no-hitter. The Braves were flailing wildly at Lincecum's pitches. And they once again didn't do the small things they have to do to win games -- beginning in the first inning. We get our leadoff man on second base, and Jason Heyward can't advance him to third, instead he flies out to left field, not deep enough to advance Omar Infante to third base. That's an incredibly key play. With the big sluggers coming up behind him, Heyward has to be almost sacrificial in hitting the ball to the right side to advance the runner.

Of course Derek Lee and Brian McCann promptly strike out and strand Infante at second, but they may have approached their at-bats differently -- especially Lee -- if there was a runner at third with only one out. This, as it turns out, was the best scoring opportunity of the game for Atlanta. Yes, Brian McCann advanced to third base in the seventh, but with two outs it would have taken a base hit or an error to get him home, and Matt Diaz could not deliver.

I'm not advocating that Heyward should have been bunting or anything, but he should have been making a more concerted effort to pull the ball to the right side. Of course, that's easier said than done against Lincecum. My fear is that because of our inability to score runs, Bobby Cox may resort to more of a small-ball approach, perhaps with players who should be swinging away.

Maybe every pitch tonight will look slow and big to the Braves hitters without Lincecum on the mound. They're going to have to find ways to swing and make contact. Did you know that every player in the Braves liineup except Infante struck out at least once last night. This strikeout crap can't continue.

But I don't know if there's any solution to that problem. Guys like Alex Gonzalez and Brooks Conrad and Rick Ankiel just strike out a lot. There's no solution to that problem just like there's no solution to the defensive woes that plagued us last night. Conrad has committed an error in five straight games, and Infante is capable, but unspectacular wherever you put him in the field.

The reality of this Braves team is that it's not really the team that got the Braves to the postseason. No Chipper Jones and no Martin Prado are huge omissions if Atlanta wants to have a successful offense and defense. The Braves will have to make do with what they have left. It's like the team is going into each game knowing they're going to have to cover up a few mistakes. This will be a tough uphill fight.

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