The Braves (43-50) take on the Padres (37-56) tonight in the second game of a three game series. After sweeping the Padres in May, many had hoped this series would end in similar fashion. Unfortunately, last night's game ended in a devastating 4-0 loss.
Tonight the Braves will send rookie pitcher Charlie Morton (1-2, 6.84 ERA) to the mound to face former Brave, Greg Maddux (3-7, 3.90 ERA). In last Sunday's 17-inning 7-6 Braves win, Morton gave up six runs, all with two outs, in his 6.0 innings pitched. The outing before that, Morton gave up five runs on eight hits in 2.0 innings pitched. Taking into consideration his youth and the solid pitching he was doing at Richmond, there are still high hopes that Morton will be a solid starter for the Braves in the future. No time like the present to start showing he can compete on the major league level.
Amidst all the streaks I've heard about that reflect poorly on the Braves, I've heard of one good streak lately. The bullpen hasn't allowed a homerun in 56.1 innings. The bullpen ranks third in the majors, only allowing 0.62 homeruns per nine innings pitched. Overall, the Braves pitching staff ranks fifth in the majors, only allowing 0.86 homeruns per nine innings pitched.
The real problem lately for the Braves hasn't been pitching though. It's the offense. The Braves are just 1-for-49 in the first four innings of each of the last four games on the road. The problem I'm seeing is that everyone is swinging for the fence. They can't manufacture a run to save their lives. Props go to Brian McCann though who is proving that he is worthy of his All-Star bid. McCann was 3-for-4 last night and is 5-for-11 in the last three games (while the team as a whole is a mere 22-for-100).