Yesterday was so much fun that the Braves decided they'd do it again as the team followed up their 12-4 win yesterday with a 12-3 win today against Houston. For those counting, the Braves have now outscored their opponents 38-7 over the past three games. All three of the Braves' deadline acquisitions had impressive Braves debuts tonight, lead by Mark Teixeira. Tex didn't wait long for his first Atlanta RBI. After a Yunel Escobar double and two walks, Teixeira was walked with the bases loaded in the first to bring home Atlanta's first run. A Matt Diaz double mixed in with a couple walks and singles ended up plating seven in a first inning that basically sealed the deal for the Braves against the light-hitting Astros. The icing on the cake came in the sixth. The crowd, already cheering every time Mark Teixeira made his way to the plate, was given even more of a reason to cheer as the new Braves slugger deposited a low and away pitch into the left field bleachers for a three-run homer. In total the team had twelve hits and nine walks on the day. Yunel Escobar led the way with three and Andruw Jones, Jeff Francoeur, and Matt Diaz each added on two. Yunel had a good day at the plate but broke an unwritten rule that drew a couple long talks from the Braves coaches and veteran players. With a nine-run lead in the seventh, Escobar tried and failed to score on a shallow fly ball to center field. Even though he did actually get in under the tag, there is no reason for him to be trying on such a shallow hit ball. Mistakes will come from every young player though and it is something that experience will lay to rest most likely.
Buddy Carlyle gave a decent start but had to exit early because of what is being called a hyper-extended right elbow that happened during his last at bat (he is day-to-day). It was certainly shorter than the Braves wanted with that big a lead but you can't really complain about five innings of two-run ball. Carlyle has really settled in as a good fifth starter for this team. Unfortunately, there is a fourth starter missing in front of him and about a twelfth starter pitching behind him. Oscar Villarreal came in relief of Carlyle with two OK innings of work. You've got to give him a little bit of leeway because he was probably just told to go out there and make them get outs but he certainly didn't have his best stuff working tonight. The Braves' newly acquired relievers, Ron Mahay and Octavio Dotel pitched the eighth and ninth innings for Atlanta. They combined for two hitless innings to finish out the game. I was very impressed with Dotel especially. He was throwing right around 95 mph with a lot of movement, and like Rafael Soriano it looked like the pitch was coming in at about 2-3 mph faster. The option of turning to two, hard throwing, power arms in Rafael Soriano and Dotel should strengthen the bullpen quite a bit along with the addition of Mahay.
The Braves send rookie Jo-Jo Reyes to the mound tomorrow looking for the sweep against veteran right-hander Woody Williams. Reyes is coming off a poor start and let me just say that the way the offense is performing now is going to work very much in Reyes' favor. It seem like with the way the Braves are hitting, Reyes will be getting quite a few runs to work with. Matt Diaz told Mark Teixeira after last night's game that if the Braves scored twelve runs per game, he could have anything, in regards to the number 23 that Diaz wears and Teixeira wore. That may have not been such a good deal for Diaz. The game is at 7:35 ET.