Braves-Blue Jays: Atlanta Beats the Best

Jeff MoodyContributor IMay 23, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 6:  Roy Halladay #32 of the Toronto Blue Jays throws a pitch against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium May 6, 2009 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

I assumed that Braves would lose to the Jays in game 1 of the interleague series. Roy Halladay was pitching. He’s going for his ninth win (with only one loss). He’s dominant.

The Braves were trotting out 31-year-old Japanese rookie Kenshin Kawakami, who has lacked control to start the year and has been susceptible to the long ball.

A match made for the Blue Jays to recover after being swept by the Yankees, right?

Wrong! And a delightful slam the 1980’s era “No Whammie” buzzer wrong. “BZZZZZZ.” (That was a long way to reference my childhood, but we all watched “Press Your Luck.”

Kawakami was excellent. His 90 mph fastball had late movement and he got ahead in the count so that his 70 mph curve ball fooled a lot of hitters. (Not to mention his 82 mph change up that comes back in to right handers). He went pitch for pitch with Halladay.

Halladay pitched a gem as well, as usual, so it came down to the bullpen. Kawakami took the Braves all the way through the eighth inning, throwing seven K’s and giving them a chance.

Halladay came up to bat in the seventh, so the Jays opted to hit for him and bring in Jesse Carlson to pitch the eighth. Matt Diaz hit for Kawakami and got a ground rule double and advanced to third on a Yunel Escobar ground out.

In stepped Casey Kotchman, a constistent hitter with great RBI potential. He hit it deep enough to left to score Diaz and give the Braves the lead.

Uh-oh. Braves bullpen time. Mike Gonzalez came out to pitch the 9th, got one out and then gave up a double to Aaron Hill, who advanced to third on an Alex Rios groundout.

Then, just to make sure my heart was ready for strain, Vernon Wells grounded a dribbler to Martin Prado at third who bobbled, recovered, and throwed out Wells at first to prevent the tying run.

BZZZZZZZZZ. BZZZZZZZ. BZZZZZZZZ. I am killing the buzzer as much as Mike Gonzalez kills his vocal chords after each save.

After taking the best pitcher down, the Braves can sweep the series and get a few games over .500. I refuse to let the Colorado debacle of last week scare me.

Call me naive (you will not be the first), but this series is the Braves chance to gain some ground in the division, as the Mets and Phillies are facing the Red Sox and Yankees respectively.

Let’s go Braves… No whammies.