Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 4/28/13
Here are three things we learned from the Braves' 8-3 loss to the Tigers, as Detroit earned a series sweep over the National League's best team: 1. Two key stats might best explain the Braves' Sunday troubles Atlanta was 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position. The Braves (15-9) also left 20 men on base for the evening, with every member of the starting nine being responsible for at least one runner. Simply put, it was a night full of missed opportunities excluding the fourth inning, when a Justin Upton single, Freddie Freeman hit-by-pitch, Chris Johnson double and Evan Gattis spurred on three runs, momentarily squaring the score at 3-all. Johnson, by the way, was the only Braves player with two hits against the Tigers and starter Doug Fister, who is now 4-0 (with a 2.38 ERA) for the year. And Freeman (1 for 3) led the parade of Atlanta LOBs, stranding a team-high four runners. 2. There aren't many signs of an impending Mike Minor slump It had been a long time since Minor (six strikeouts, two walks in 6.2 innings) bore the responsibility for six runs in a single game try May 16 of last year against the Marlins. And of his previous 56 innings leading up to Sunday, spanning nine starts, the southpaw had surrendered a grand total of eight runs, for a cumulative ERA of 1.29. One more thing: Of his last 20 starts, factoring in four full months of pitching, Minor posted only one outing of three or more walks. In other words, Minor won't see many lineups like the Tigers over the next five months; so, in the grand scheme of things, giving up six runs (and homers to Austin Jackson and Omar Infante) reeks of an isolated worry. 3. The Braves' status in the NL East hasn't been greatly altered in the last two weeks You'd think a 3-7 road trip (not to mention an April 17 home loss to Kansas City) in the season's first month would vanquish a divisional lead for just about any team. But Atlanta's short-term misery was also replicated by Miami (3-7), New York (3-7) and Washington (4-6), with only the embattled Phillies (6-4) posting a winning record during that period. Bottom line: The Braves' ugliest stretch of the season ... may not prove to be so bad in the end. That's something to behold, since the club remains a solid bet for 92 or more victories. 3b. Sweep aside, Atlanta wouldn't mind seeing Detroit on the docket again This weekend may have produced a one-sided result, but there's nothing definitive to glean from it should the Tigers and Braves both reach the World Series in October. In 2006, Detroit swept St. Louis in June, taking the three games by a 21-13 overall score. But when the clubs met again four months later in the Fall Classic, the Cardinals cruised to a championship in five games with the Tigers coming unglued on defense for the final three contests. That playoff series, in the eyes of this Detroit native, was a prime example of why the media-friendly phrase "World Series preview" should be mocked at every turn. Yes, the '06 Cardinals and Tigers had some familiarity with each other, stemming from that Interleague matchup during the summer. But very few regular season games can match the pressure of the postseason ... and Detroit, at the time, had no way of simulating that kind of anxiety leading up to the World Series.
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