Braves Shutout in the Rain
Kelly Meter: Kelly had a nice day at the plate. The second baseman went 2/3 with a walk and a strikeout to bring his season line to .285/.383/.473, still making him one of the top offensive second baseman and leadoff men in baseball. Quite a find for the Braves, who had no legitimate leadoff man for the past couple years.
What could have gone worse last night? It was raining almost all night and at the end the Braves looked up on the scoreboard and saw a big goose egg. Yet again, Tim Hudson could not down the Red Sox who have given him fits over his career. Hudson actually started off very well, pitching to the minimum in the first three innings and matching Red Sox ace Josh Beckett pitch for pitch. The fourth was where everything started to fall apart. A David Ortiz homerun and a narrowly escaped bases loaded situation put the Braves down one. Then in the fifth, a triple by Alex Cora, double by Josh Beckett, and a single by Dustin Pedroia expanded the Red Sox lead to three. The sixth proved to be Hudson's last inning after a double by Jason Varitek and a single by Coco Crisp, Bobby Cox removed the right-hander after throwing 93 pitches in 5.1 innings while allowing nine hits and four earned runs. On a good note, the bullpen was again dominant. Oscar Villareal, Chad Paronto, and Macay McBride combined for 3.2 innings, allowing only one hit, one walk, and no runs while striking out two. Another good sign is that they allowed only one flyball out to the eight ground outs they had. The way Villareal is starting, if Kyle Davies has another bad start I would be somewhat shocked not to see Villareal get a nod in the rotation.
The offense hit a roadblock against a very tough pitcher tonight. The team combined for only five hits, all of which came from the top three spots in the order. Kelly Johnson, Willie Harris, and Edgar Renteria combined to go 5/8 with two walks and the rest of the team went 0/21. Not much you can say here. Jeff Francoeur seems to be back to old form as the new and improved plate discipline seems to be slowly disappearing and while Andruw Jones did go 0/4 to bring his average to .202, he didn't strike out.