Thursday, June 08, 2006

Braves getting consistent at something

As inconsistent this season as late-career Woody Allen, the Braves recently have been utterly predictable in one sense – when a critical pitch or set of pitches is at hand, the home team is going to fail and the other team is going to come through like the ’27 Yankees crossed with the early ’70s A’s.

It’s amazing how many games, even some that end up lopsided, turn on a few pitches. Take tonight. When we left the bases loaded with no outs in the sixth, my dread was as sure as if it were October. Not the intensity of the dread, mind you, just the certainty of impending defeat. After that, I figured the chances of a Houston victory were about 90 percent. (The game’s not over as I write, so I hope I end up looking the fool.)

But tonight’s outcome again hinged on a few plays. Andy Pettitte made a perfect full-count pitch to strike out Todd Pratt, then Lance Berkman made a good throw home to nail Francoeur for an inning-ending double play. Poof. Rally over.

Minutes later, Thomson made a most imperfect two-strike pitch to Berkman. He hits it into the right field seats. Poof, 5-2. Game, most likely, over.

Again I hope I eat these words, but I’m already starting to resign myself to a down season. You can’t win forever, I’m thinking. It has to end some time. How would we want it to end? Have we forgotten what it’s like to root for a mediocre team? I believe I have. Getting reacquainted with that is so far not a lot of fun.

-- CD

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