Three Cuts: Braves blanked by Lee, Phillies
APR 04, 2013 10:23p ET
1. The Braves' bats were no match for Cliff Lee and the c-c-cold temperatures
To be fair, very few MLB teams would have experienced success against Lee on this night.
In a performance more reminiscent of mid-May than early April — amid blustery weather conditions — the Phillies southpaw allowed only two incidental singles ( Justin Upton, Dan Uggla) over eight strong innings.
For good measure, Lee fanned eight Braves, without yielding a walk.
"I think it was one of those raw (weather) days that you rarely get in Atlanta," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez after the game. "It is what it is. I thought we squared some balls up that didn't go out of the park, maybe because the cold or the wind was blowing."
However, "Cliff Lee, you can't take anything from him ... he did a great job."
The Braves hitters must shoulder some of the blame, too, in light of the following stat: For Monday and Thursday nights, spanning two games, Atlanta didn't send more than five batters to the plate, per inning, at any time. That's 17 full innings without a sustained rally.
As such, the Braves should feel content to have won the series, 2-1.
"That's what we shoot for" every series, said Gonzalez. And if that winning trend continues over the course of a season, "you'll be in pretty good shape."
2. For once, Braves pitcher Kris Medlen looked mortal on the mound
From July 31 to Sept. 30 last year, spanning 12 starts and 83.2 innings, Medlen (10-1, 1.57 ERA) absurdly amassed a 9-0 record, 0.97 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 84/10 K-BB ratio. And of the dozen starts, Atlanta had a spotless 12-0 record.
Digging deeper, you'd have to hearken back all the way to May 23, 2010 — nearly three full years — to pinpoint the last time the Braves lost a regular-season game in which Medlen started.
With that knowledge, the Braves were likely overdue to drop a game, especially with Medlen (two runs allowed, four walks in just five innings) struggling early on.
In the opening stanza, Medlen filled up the bases but was rescued by an infield putout to end the inning. Roughly 15 minutes later, he wasn't so fortunate ... surrendering a single, double and walk to Laynce Nix, Erik Kratz and Cliff Lee — Philly's 7-9 hitters — before allowing the only two runs of the evening.
The weather conditions weren't ideal, Medlen said, "but this is what we're going to face in places like Colorado, Detroit and Pittsburgh for the whole month of April. It's not an excuse."
Asked if his early struggles were the result of the adrenaline that typically comes with a pitcher's first start, Medlen deflected the question with honesty and a little humor.
"Oh, no. My adrenaline was frozen."
Medlen could force a polite smile after the game, knowing he had already broken Hall of Famers Carl Hubbell and Whitey Ford's previous MLB record of 22 straight starts without suffering a loss.
3. Ron Swoboda would be very proud of Jason Heyward's diving catch
For those who were born after 1960, they won't get the Swoboda reference. But it's a fitting parallel, in the wake of Heyward's amazing circus catch off a Ben Revere liner in the sixth inning.
At first blush, it didn't appear as though Heyward got a good jump on the ball. He had to wade through a wet field before takeoff.
And yet, with the Turner Field crowd expecting the ball to hit the turf, Heyward executed a textbook diving grab — one that effectively killed a Philly rally before it could begin.
As for Swoboda, his out-of-nowhere outfield snag from Game 4 of the 1969 World Series still gets plenty of airplay — 44 years later.
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