Update: Dave O'Brien at AJC is reporting that Chipper was pulled as a precautionary measure to rest his sore groin. Glad it is not a new injury that is popping up.
After three disappointing series' in a row, the Braves got their three-game set with the division-rival Marlins off on the right foot. Atlanta polished off starter Scott Olsen and Florida by a final score of 13-2 behind not only a booming offense, but a fine start by Lance Cormier. Cormier lowered his ERA down to 7.59 with a seven-inning, two-run performance to pick up his first win of the season. Cormier allowed six hits, while walking three, and striking out five over his seven frames. His command of his curveball and especially fastball was much better than in any of his starts this year. The Braves pen finished off the easy win with two scoreless innings coming from Ron Mahay and Oscar Villarreal. Right now there is a competition for who will stay in the rotation once Chuck James returns. Both Jo-Jo Reyes and Cormier have turned in impressive outings in their last start but I think Cormier is still the likely one who will keep his spot with Reyes moving to the pen.
The Braves offense made Florida starter Scott Olsen's day a short and very painful one. The offense, led by the first four hitters in the lineup, smacked Olsen around for ten runs -- six earned -- in just four innings of work. The Braves tacked on three more runs against the Florida bullpen for a total of thirteen in the game. Yunel Escobar, Matt Diaz, Chipper Jones, and Mark Teixeira had a combined eleven hits in twenty-one at bats with nine runs and five RBI's. Diaz went 4/6 with two doubles and a homerun, bringing his average to .352 on the season. All I can say is that he better be starting all the time very soon. The bottom of the lineup wasn't any slouch either. Brian McCann chipped in a homer, Jeff Francoeur and Andruw Jones (who is hitting .317 with three home runs and only four strikeouts since August 16th) added RBI-hits, and Kelly Johnson collected two hits including a home run in the contest. Chipper was pulled in the fifth after it looked like he aggravated his shoulder on a strikeout. Hopefully this was just precautionary with the game already being out of hand.
John Smoltz heads to the mound tomorrow to face rookie right-hander Rick Vanden Hurk, who has already bested the veteran this year. The game is scheduled to start at 7:05 ET and will be carried on Sports South.