Series Preview: Giants, May 28-31

20150528 GIANTS

O you youths, Western youths,
So impatient, full of action, full of manly pride and friendship,
Plain I see you Western youths, see you tramping with the foremost,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

Three Days ago the Braves embarked on a journey west. Victories over the Brewers, Marlins, and Rays lifted their confidence high. They would be facing Goliath, but they were feeling a spark of David in their bellies. The spark fanned by the winds of unexpected offense. They went to the West to take on the foremost teams in the league beginning with the Dodgers. After dropping two games in spectacularly horrific fashion, the Braves managed a win by the skin of their teeth. Wounded but not wholly defeated, Atlanta travels on to San Francisco. Things should get slightly easier now. Very slightly.

On and on the compact ranks,
With accessions ever waiting, with the places of the dead quickly fill’d,
Through the battle, through defeat, moving yet and never stopping,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

The Braves shed some weight on the first leg of their trip. Alberto Callaspo was given over to the glamour of the West. Juan Jaime and Ian Thomas likewise found themselves culled from the caravan. Eric Stults, as best we can tell, died of dysentery. But a wily old pioneer resplendent with gold clothing joined the roster in the form of Juan Uribe, and Chris Johnson made his late arrival. The ranks were compacted, but the Braves carry on now to their battle. They move on from the best team in the NL West to the second best team. After facing the best offense in the National League they will now face the second best offense. There are no Kershaws or Greinkes here. They will have to face Bumgarner, Heston, Hudson, and the hollow carapace of Tim Lincecum. But unless the likes of Perez, Miller, Foltynewicz, and Teheran can continue to hold the line as admirably as they have, it won’t matter much who the team faces. It is not likely this offense will rebound quickly from what happened in Los Angeles. The team looks to be moving into more defeat. But they will not stop moving. The journey–the season–goes ever on.

O to die advancing on!
Are there some of us to droop and die? has the hour come?
Then upon the march we fittest die, soon and sure the gap is fill’d.
Pioneers! O pioneers!

It would be easy to look at the rosters in this match up and see nothing but despair. “Posey, Crawford, Aoki, Belt, Panik” the away fans will cry. Five Giants players who have amassed 7.4 WAR among them already. The Braves fans in their homes will have to hold to much less potent names. It would be easy to droop and die. After all, each of the games will start after 10:00 pm. But if the Braves die, they will die advancing on. They will die by blowing leads in explosive fashion. They will die with quality pitchers letting down bad hitters and vice versa. With a quarter of the season gone, the hour may have come, but Atlanta will keep going with the surely deluded dream that they are more than an already faded dot on the line of baseball history. They will stay west, seeking a destiny that likely will not manifest. They’re going to lose at least three of these four games against the Giants.

Do the feasters gluttonous feast?
Do the corpulent sleepers sleep? have they lock’d and bolted doors?
Still be ours the diet hard, and the blanket on the ground,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

Yet there is honor in this trip, if the team continues to scratch and claw against the fate that seems set in concrete. They were outmatched in every way against the Dodgers and yet managed one win. The team full of sand and grit, composed of has-beens and haven’t-yets, is facing down the wealth of the nation in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The Giants fans will come from their $4225 per month apartments to see these young men and aged veterans in gray make a go at the home team. The Atlanta squad has become lean for this season in anticipation of a brighter future. The Braves are in a time of transition. They are working hard towards the heights they once knew. Most of this team will not be around once that comes around. But still they soldier on, their diets hard. They go into the West and are likely to be beaten back by it at every stop. Braves! O Braves! You are terrible right now. But we will still watch (At least until we fall asleep).

20150528 GIANTS

Bradley has never blogged.

Posted in 2015 Braves Series Previews, Baseball, Columns, Sports Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

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