With the knowledge that the NL East leading New York Mets had already lost,† Kyle Davies needed to go out and pick up the win in the last game before the All-Star break.The Young right-hander did just that. Davies played with fire early but didn't get burned against a San Diego team that is built on pitching. He allowed only four hits and a run in six innings while picking up six strikeouts. It is a good line but I am still worried about his effectiveness. He has the kind of stuff that he needs to get down on every single pitch. He doesn't have movement on his fastball that will make it consistently miss the bat so if he leaves it up in the zone, he is going to get hit hard. Today he left a lot of pitches up in the zone but got very lucky they didn't get drilled. Peter Moylan and Rafael Soriano came on for two perfect innings in relief and Bob Wickman enforced his case for being yanked from the closer's role but still managed to seal the win. Wickman was charged with three runs on five hits in one inning but did strike out the side. The Braves are locked in a very close race with the Mets and to have Bobby running WIckman out every time could cost us quite a few games. Soriano, Yates,† and Moylan are all better relievers than the veteran closer and he needs to take a middle relief role.
The offense was just enough today to† give the Braves the win. Atlanta hit former-Braves Greg Maddux pretty hard, tagging him for five runs in five plus innings of work. The middle of the order really got it done for the Braves today. The second was the first big blow against San Diego. Brian McCann connected for a two-run homer and a batter later, Kelly Johnson nailed a solo homerun into the right field seats. Then a McCann single in the sixth drove in two more runs and forced Maddux to have an early exit. Willie Harris continued his struggles and I am almost afraid he could be returning to his old form. Let's keep are hopes up though. Andruw had a huge day today. Not only did he have a perfect day at the plate with three hits, but he took all three pitches he got on the outside corner and either took them up the middle or to the opposite field with good balance. Add onto that his two steals and this is the best game the impending free-agent has seen in quite a while.
Tim Hudson is scheduled to take the mound on Friday when the Braves return from the All-Star break against the Pirates. Hudson is trying to rebound after a game in which his defense let him down in a huge way last time. He'll be facing off against Pittsburgh ace Ian Snell. Also. Jo-Jo Reyes will get another start after the All-Star break filling in for John Smoltz.