For the second straight night, the Braves were downed in extra innings against the Diamondbacks. John Smoltz gave a fine performance in the 4-3 loss and ended up with a no decision. The Braves' veteran ace went seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, no walks, and six strkeouts. Smoltz looked to be in pain most of the night as he walked around the mound taking extra time and stretching his shoulder, but he said after the game that the shoulder wasn't a problem and chalked the stretching up to just being old. Even noticeably without his best stuff, Smoltz threw a fine game tonight to keep the Braves in against Doug Davis. Peter Moylan, who worked two innings in the first game of the series, relieved Smoltz in the eight with a perfect inning of work and then handed the ball off to Oscar Villarreal, who made it interesting but escaped without a run. Tyler Yates continued his struggles as he took the ball in the tenth. The flame-throwing right-hander has an ERA of 14.00 for the month of July after last night and admitted that he has no confidence right now, which is not something you usually hear from a pitcher. Yates' control was no existent as he walked two of the three batters he faced. He left with two on and one out but Chad Paronto allowed a single to Conor Jackson that brought home the winning run.
The offense was a problem tonight after a big showing yesterday. Yet again, a soft-tossing southpaw shut down the team. The Braves collected only seven hits all game including five off starter Doug Davis and only two extra base hits. The first six batters each collected one hit and John Smoltz added an RBI single on a sharply hit ball to third base that went off the glove of Mark Reynolds. This team really needs to play Jarrod Saltalamacchia or send him down. I realize it is to keep him from getting injured in case of a trade, but he would provide a huge offensive upgrade over Julio Franco at first.
Tim Hudson will try and salvage a win out of the series against Livan Hernandez. The game is set for 4:40 ET in a matchup that heavily favors the Braves.