The Braves' horrible start to the 2016 season has created games where the stands are not even half filled and ticket prices are dirt cheap on the secondary market. I figured I had better take advantage of that and the spring weather here in Georgia to see my first Braves game in-person. I chose a day game against the Dodgers and was lucky enough to find out it was three-time Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw's scheduled start.
The Braves have such a decimated roster of players that it's not surprising they have the lowest slugging percentage of any team since the lowering of the pitcher's mound in 1969. So the only batters that made for interesting match ups against Kershaw were Freddie Freeman...
...and fan favorite and Georgia native Jeff Francoeur, who received the loudest round of applause of any Braves player over the course of the game.
Certainly the most exciting 20 minutes of the game began when Kershaw came up to bat for the first time. I love baseball cards featuring pitchers at bat or on the base paths and so seeing baseball's best pitcher put in a position that he isn't so good makes baseball a little more interesting.
He gave the ball a few good swings and made contact by smacking a long drive out to the outfield.
The Braves outfielders played the ball incorrectly and slammed into each other allowing Kershaw to make it to second base.
Watch out, Kershaw's a stealing threat!
Eventually the Dodgers smacked a hit, allowing Kershaw a chance to come around and score. There was a play at the plate and Kershaw was called out but the play went to review.
Dodgers fans everywhere must have loved their $200+ million dollar pitcher sliding into home. It was incredibly close play and all the Dodgers fans around where we were sitting were certain the call would be overturned.
In the end, the call was upheld and Kershaw was out at the plate.
Kershaw is one of the most entertaining pitcher that I've seen in person. From the behind the back setting up of the pitch call with the catcher to moving the mitt about his head before the windup, you want to watch each pitch go to the plate.
This is probably my favorite photo from the day. You might notice the baseball that Kershaw threw is just to the fright of the Fox South logo under the cameraman. I also love how the Braves bench are all standing and watching the game and I have to think it is more about checking out the best pitcher in baseball over the past five years than supporting the team.
Next post = my visit to Turner Field's Braves Museum!