Chipper Jones nailed it early on with this Braves team – they are either really good or the Bad News Bears show up. A one-game wild card playoff was the worst possible time for the worst-case scenario, but that’s what the Braves were left to face.
One false move in a one-game playoff can spell doom. The Braves made three of them in a 6-3 loss to the Cardinals. A Braves team that lead the National League in fielding percentage this season (.986) and allowed a league-low 86 errors committed three throwing errors Friday night leading to four unearned runs.
“What hurts (is) lead the league in fielding percentage all year long and today we didn’t handle the ball quite the way we’ve done,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “…We didn’t handle the baseball like we have. It’s something we’re proud of the last couple of years here defensively. And it came back and bit us.”
Jones was the reluctant ringleader, making the first of three Braves throwing errors in the game. Dan Uggla and Andrelton Simmons each made errant throws in the seventh inning – Uggla to first base and Simmons home – allowing another two unearned runs to score.
Jones made his error in the fourth inning on a ball off the bat of Matt Holliday that he was doing well to snare. But Jones threw over Uggla at second base on a ball that might have started a double play. The next three batters drove in runs for the Cardinals.
The Braves had opened the inning with a 2-0 lead behind Kris Medlen and closed it down 3-2.
“(I) made a good play on the pick, got a two-seam grip and it just sailed on me,” Jones said. “No other way to explain it. I realized later (Carlos) Beltran had to stop (off first base) because of the hold on the line drive. If I had to do it all over again, I probably would have double-clutched and made sure I got a four-seam grip and give Uggla a little more time to get to second base and give myself an opportunity to make a truer throw.”