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Davies Hit Hard in Game 1 Loss

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One big inning was the undoing for the Braves in the opener of their second interleague series. The Braves lost 7-3 thanks to a 5-spot Kyle Davies gave up in the fourth inning after cruising through 10 straight hitters previously. The damage, as it usually is for Davies, started with walks. Two were issued with one out in the fourth and after a Torii Hunter double that plated two, McCann short-hopped a throw that would have easily nailed Hunter on a stolen base attempt at third, but instead skipped into left allowing Hunter to score easily. Four more singles and two runs later, Davies was pulled after only 3.2 innings for Oscar Villareal, who was quite impressive. Villareal went three, allowing two hits, one run (Macay McBride allowed the RBI single), and striking out a batter. Blaine Boyer wasn't as impressive as he has been in the past, allowing four hits and one run in his 1.1 innings of work. The offense was again lagging in this game. It seemed every time the ball was hit it was a flyball to the outfield but with not nearly enough to get it over. Francoeur got the scoring started off with a solo homerun and Scott Thorman joined in with one of his own out to straight away center a couple innings later. Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Willie Harris both had impressive nights with the bat as they went a combined 5/8 with a double by Harris and one that he tried to stretch into a double. The Braves had the opportunities but a mix of bad baserunning and poor clutch hitting just couldn't get it done. As I was watching the game, I knew that once Slowey was out, we basically had not shot. Just to basically give you a sense of the ability of the Minnesota pen, the highest ERA we faced tonight out of the pen belonged to Joe Nathan, the best closer in the game and his 1.91 mark. Here are some random thoughts about the game:
  • Oscar Villareal looked good enough that Bobby is going to have to give him a look as a starter some point soon. Peter Moylan has proven perfectly capable of handling mop-up and long inning situations and we have enough talent in the minors to replace Villareal.
  • Jarrod Saltalamacchia is not going to be held out of the starting lineup for much longer. Salty looked just locked in at the plate and there isn't much Scott Thorman is going to be able to do to keep Salty from shoving him aside. All I can say, this is a mighty good time for Thorman to heat up.
  • It is still an mind-boggling to me that Pete Orr is getting the start at third. Willie Harris is perfectly capable with Diaz playing in left and Orr has not only shown that he can't handle the position defensively, but he is the one person I want at the plate if I absolutely need a groundout. At least Woodward makes solid contact right at someone once in a while.
  • Kyle Davies once again suffered from command problems. When he is going good, he releases the ball later and gets on top of it, when he gets flustered though, he releases the ball earlier and throws it up in the zone. Everything is mechanical and this is something that Davies is going to have work on.

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