A bad day for me with the Bravos on Sunday. Kris Medlen wasn't as sharp as he normally is, but he kept his team in the game. The problem was that his offense did nothing to reward his efforts. After starting the season at 12-1, the Braves have now lost 4 of their last 5 games, and they're looking every bit the one trick pony that the White Sox are in the A.L.
This team doesn't know how to generate offense when the big flies don't come. Poor plate discipline, really bad situational hitting and a weak strategy for trying to make things happen---there were not 1, but 2, strike'em out, throw'em out double plays yesterday---all led to the demise of the Atlanta Nine yesterday. It's also left the formerly invincible Braves looking like the Bad News Bears.
During the recent slide of the past week, the Bravos have scored only 9 runs, and if you take away the 1 win they did get, they're left with only 3 runs scored in the 4 losses. I don't know if not having Uggla or Heyward in the lineup yesterday would have helped Sunday's situation at all, but you're just not going to win many games, no matter how good the pitching is, if you're averaging less than a run per game.
There's no way I'm throwing dirt on the Braves already. They do have that pitching and that bullpen. They will get Freeman and McCann back in the lineup, and they will figure things out. But isn't baseball a beautiful game? Just when you think you've got the game whipped, the baseball gods rise up and show that they will even things out.
THE NBA (0-4 ATS/3-1 SU/2-2 TOTALS yesterday)
Massive beatdowns were the order of the day yesterday, and once again, it was a great day for the favorites. I have said that these early days of the playoffs are prime spots to look for those road teams that look most likely to be able to "steal" one before heading back for their own home games. After the first 2 days of playoff action, it's hard to imagine that's going to happen this season.
BUTTA (no play yesterday)
NETS (-210) over Bulls - I think we'll get a better effort from the Bulls on defense tonight, but I don't know where the scoring is going to come from. The Nets have many more offensive weapons and will have the best point guard on the floor. They also have the size and skill in the paint, and even though The Association continues to evolve into a guard's league, size still matters.
ALL THE REST
1. NETS (-4 1/2, O183 1/2) 107, Bulls 86
2. CLIPPERS (-5 1/2, O181 1/2) 103, Grizzlies 84 - One of the problems I noted with the Griz over the course of the season was their penchant for long offensive droughts. The Clips kept them at bay in all of Game 1, and there's no reason to think the same won't happen again tonight. L.A. just looks faster and stronger than Memphis, and they are definitely deeper.
THE SHOW (1-2 yesterday)
BUTTA (0-1 yesterday)
Mariners (Hernandez -175) over ASTROS (PEACOCK) - Felix takes another run at Win #100 tonight, and he's got a wounded animal to take advantage of in the 'Stros. The M's had a really rough weekend in Arlington, so this is the perfect spot to throw the ace out there to get them off the schneide.
ON THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR
1. A's (Griffin +115) over RED SOX (DOUBRONT) - There's another Felix pitching tonight, and his name is Doubront. He was really good his last time out, but that's not something that's sustainable for him over the last couple of years. Beware though! The A's are limping into Fenway as well, and this is a franchise that never has performed all that well when they're on the east coast.
2. TWINS (CORREIA -155) over Marlins (Nolasco) - The Twinks are hanging around with good pitching and timely hitting. Correia is leading the way on that Twins staff, and he's got a relatively punchless opponent to deal with tonight.
ALL THAT GLITTERS (8-8 ATS/9-7 SU/11-5 TOTALS yesterday)
1. Blue Jays (+1 1/2, O9) at ORIOLES
2. A's (+1 1/2, U8 1/2) at RED SOX
3. WHITE SOX (+1 1/2, U8) vs. Indians
4. Mariners over ASTROS (+1 1/2, O7)
5. ANGELS (+1 1/2, U8 1/2) over Rangers
6. Yankees (+1 1/2, O7) over RAYS
7. TWINS (-1 1/2, U8) over Marlins
8. REDS (-1 1/2, U8) over Cubs
9. ROCKIES (-1 1/2, U9 1/2) over Braves
10. PHILLIES (-1 1/2, U8) over Pirates
11. PADRES (+1 1/2, O7) vs. Brewers *
12. GIANTS (-1 1/2, U7) over D-Backs
13. NATIONALS (+1 1/2, O8) over Cardinals
* - All the metrics are coming up with a tie in the Brewers/PADRES game for tonight.
Happy Earth Day! Especially to co-founder Ira Einhorn who is languishing away in prison after his conviction for chopping up his girlfriend almost 30 years ago and stuffing her remains in a steamer trunk that he kept tucked away in the back of a closet in his home for months before the body was found. I can't wait to turn on the high-powered floodlights around The Estate tonight in her honor.
Have a great day. I'll see you again tomorrow.