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braves-finish-sweep-with-a-bang | June | 2007 Articles

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Braves Finish Sweep with a Bang

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Watching the Braves lay a 13-0 beat-down on the Nationals, you'd never believe that same team just went through a five-game skid in which they scored a grand total of one run. The offense erupted in a big way against arguably the best of the Nationals pitchers they faced this series. The Braves lit up Micah Bowie for six runs in 3.1 innings, handing the southpaw his first loss as a starter. Atlanta finished with 22 hits in total, the first time they have done that since 1999. Everyone got into the act as all nine starters collected at least one hit a piece. Bobby Cox fielded the same team as yesterday and Yunel Escobar certainly made him feel good about that choice. The rookie infielder collected four hits in five at bats including two doubles and an RBI. Edgar Renteria, Chipper Jones, Brian McCann, and Jeff Francoeur combined to go eleven for fifteen with eleven RBIs and five runs. Just an absolute offensive breakout tonight. No matter who the Nationals brought out of that pen, they just couldn't seem to hold the surging Braves at bay. After such a bad stretch, it is great to get this kind of momentum going into a stretch where Atlanta plays the Marlins, Pirates, Reds, Cardinals, and Giants over the next month. John Smoltz pitched a great game to improve to 9-4 on the season and bring his ERA below 3.00. The veteran ace went five innings, allowing no runs, five hits, and striking out seven. This was run support that was well overdue for Smoltz this season. The veteran right-hander threw only 89 pitches in the game but with the game a blowout by the fifth, there was no reason to put any more strain on his shoulder. With Moylan, Villareal, and Ledezma all capable of eating up a couple innings out of the bullpen, expect to see this a little more if either Hudson, Davies, or Smoltz are in this situation again. Yet again the bullpen was excellent and it feels so nice to say that after last year. Oscar Villareal, Wil Ledezma, and Chad Paronto combined for four scoreless innings to finish out the win. On Friday, Chuck James heads to the mound to take on Josh Johnson and the Marlins in Miami. The Braves are hoping to add onto Johnson's 14.85 ERA and keep this winning streak going. The only starter the Braves face in this upcoming series with an ERA under 5.00 is Dontrelle Willis, who has had fits against Atlanta so far in his career. Check out a recent article written by J.C. Bradbury. In it, he breaks down the chances of each of the Braves being traded if they fall out of contention. While I severely disagree that the Braves will be sellers at the deadline, it is still an interesting read.

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