Could these Braves be the real deal?
It is so tempting to take the Braves dramatic win against the Phillies tonight and make it a bigger deal than it is. Baseball is a cruel mistress, as these Braves have already shown us. These are the same Braves that got no-hit the other day. Jason Heyward’s dramatic game-winning single only came about after some help from the umpires. Still, it is hard to watch a 3-run comeback in the bottom of the 9th against the reigning NL champs and not get excited.
I was most surprised by the source of the comeback. This was my thought process during the last two innings:
- Troy Glaus comes up with two outs and a runner on. He had come up with the bases loaded earlier in the game and one out, and prompted grounded into a double play, just as I expected. The fans were booing him the at-bat before this one. I thought, “This game is over.” I was pretty slack-jawed when he actually knocked it out. “Well, good for him. He really needed that.” Still down a run with two out, no point in getting TOO excited.
- Heyward comes up. “It is too much to expect him to do it again. Maybe he’ll get a hit, keep it going.” Holy crap. This kid is the real deal. It says a lot about him that this event was the LEAST surprising part about the comeback.
- I see that McLouth, the pitcher’s spot, and Diaz are up in the bottom of the 10th. “Great, the worst part of the order. This will go to 11 innings.” How wrong I was.
One thing that was great about the early 90’s Braves (the completely biased standard by which I judge all great baseball teams) is that they had very timely hits. Guys like Lemke and Belliard didn’t put up great numbers, but they came through in the clutch. That kind of clutch performance has been missing for what feels like a decade. When Glaus hit into that bases loaded double play, it just felt like typical Braves. The 9th inning was NOT typical Braves, although I hope it becomes typical of THESE Braves.