Smoltz’s 7 inning 6 K performance was good enough for a momentum building win last night as he shut out a good Dodger team in front of the hometown.
With the LA team (the real one) off to a great start coming into Atlanta and the Braves starting their second series of the long homestand, this is a win to feel good about. Now, if only we could get the rest of our rotation to start pitching like Hudson and Smoltz.
Frenchy and McCann (I guess that hand’s not too bad) provided all the runs the Braves would need. Gonzalez and Soriano kept the Dodger bats as silent as they were against Smoltz giving up no hits or walks with a strikeout each for the eighth and ninth. I would love to see the old Wickman back but these guys are making it hard to miss him lately. Remember Chris Reitsma?
The Good: Hudson. Need I say more? I will though. The guy records 12 k’s goes 8 innings without a run. But he starts the ninth and the rest falls into the ugly category. Chipper, KJ, and Diaz homer. Tuesday’s ninth inning was magnificent because the Braves played small ball and made some runs happen. We need more of that kind of timely hitting. Homers will not carry us through the season.
The Bad: Losing two out three to the Fish and our first series of the season.
The Ugly: Andruw 0-4 with 3k’s and 4 lob’s last night. A measly .230 BA. I hate to admit it, Braves fans, but it surprised me little when Andruw struck out with the bases loaded. This guy will hit 40+ hrs when it’s all said and done but we need clutch from Andruw not always long balls. AJ’s start is a little embarassing. Leaving Hudson in as long in the ninth. There’s an argument both ways for keeping him in or pulling him but I’d rather have the ballgame and good momentum going into Colorado. Last night was just miserable especially considering how well Hudson pitched. An otherwise tremendous start got wasted and Hudson racked up 3 ER’s when it was all said and done.
Well, with the pounding the Rox put on the Mets yesterday we’ve settled on a tie for first. Now we go into Colorado with Smoltz and James and then the back end of the rotation. Lance, come on and pitch for us and get at least the number 4 spot looking good again!
So what would cause Smoltz to uncharacteristically slam his glove in the dugout after a fairly strong 6 innings? Well let’s see…was it the leadoff triple in the seventh? One if not all of the three errors defensively committed by the Braves that made it much closer game than it should’ve been? Maybe it was just so dang cold it got Smoltzie fired up? Then again, that’s what I love about Smoltz, 6 innings and four runs isn’t good enough for him or his team.
In any case, the Braves did get the win but it wasn’t pretty. Rare errors from Edgar and Chipper gave the Nats more chances than they deserved and it looked like another stellar Smoltz start (6+ innings, 2 earned runs) would be wasted. This time a poor defense, rather than ineffective bats, would threatened to foil John’s second "W". Let’s all take a moment here to blame it on the cold…ok, that’s better.
The Good: Kelly Johnson 4-5 night, 2 runs scored, 2 SB’s; Leadoff numbers. Thanks, Kelly!
2 RBI’s from Frenchy (now leading the Braves with 12), Edgar, McCann, Andruw contribute. Oh yeah, and Chipper’s ninth inning dinger. Smoltz’s 6 innings with 2ER’s isn’t bad he got the win. Soriano and Villareal solid out of the ‘pen and Wickman gets number 4. Nice!
The Bad: It was cold. Smoltzie hates the cold. Only 2 strikeouts. Not very Smoltzie.
The Ugly: Edgar’s erratic throw, costly error in the seventh, and another that easily could’ve been number 3 but went as a hit. Chipper’s bobble wasn’t pretty either.
Well I’m hoping for a warm and dry night as my Bravos come home to host the underachieving Cubs for two games…that’s it two games? You’re joking right? We play the Cubs once at home and it’s a two gamer?!?!
Anyways, I’m looking forward to a Braves win tonight and hope we can go into Shea with some better momentum than another two game split. Go Braves!