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braves-5-padres-3-above-500-again-but-can-we-stay-that-way-2 | May | 2008 Articles

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Braves 5, Padres 3: Above .500 Again, But Can We Stay That Way?

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Braves win!Braves 5, Padres 3 For most of the game, it really wasn't as close as the end score makes it look. Chris Young didn't have it, but he pitched 5 innings anyway. Jurrjens had another great start, but was at 102 pitches after the 6th and so I guess Bobby didn't want to take any chances. Better an early hook than a late one, of course, but Bobby decided to bring in Ohman -- who can only get lefties out -- to pitch a full inning, and Ohman gave up an RBI triple. (He also was charged a hit for a liner that Kelly really should have caught, but the triple was definitely Ohman's fault.) Then he brought in Boyer, who's almost certainly headed for another surgery at this rate. Then Acosta (the "closer") started the 9th, got an out but gave up two hits, and so Royce Ring and Jeff Bennett finished the game by pitching to one batter each and getting one out each. You all know I don't like seeing a bullpen handled this way. Ohman and Ring are unable to get right-handers out, so they can't be used to pitch a complete inning. Boyer and Acosta can, and so can Campillo; Buddy Carlyle's more of a ROOGY, and he ought to be replaced by Phil Stockman. Bennett's our long man. Using one-out pitchers to pitch one inning and one-inning pitchers to pitch one out is a pretty obviously inefficient use of resources, not least because it saddles everyone with more appearances as they have to put out each other's fires. And season-ending surgeries are bad for morale, bad for bullpen continuity, and pretty painful for the guy in question, too. The offense was great when Chris Young was in the game. Chipper Jones and Kotsay homered, and everyone had a hit but McCann, who walked, and Mark Teixeira, who left 5 men on base and is annoying me in the cleanup spot. Greg Norton grounded out in his first NL at-bat, but he did so on the 8th pitch; if he can work the count like that, he'll be a fine pinch hitter. Then everyone took a nap. As soon as Young left, the Braves were completely shut down for three innings of no-hit ball by the immortal Glendon Rusch, and I hope they're as embarrassed by that sentence as I am. But here's the upshot: the Braves followed a demoralizing 4-game losing streak with a 4-game winning streak, and are now above .500 for the third time this season. On each previous occasion, the Braves lost at least 2 in a row to drop below .500 again. Let's see if we can put a little daylight between us and the mediocrity mark. Tonight we'll face Randy Wolf, whom we've been playing for a LONG time. In 21 starts against us, he's 4-9 with a 5.02 ERA, which is a bit strange, because he's the sort of little left-hander that always seems to give us improbable fits. We've scored 30 runs in the past 4 games, so hopefully tonight we'll continue to remember how to hit. Tim Hudson pitches for us, coming off his best start of the season -- by game score, the best start of his career, and the best start by a pitcher this season. (9 innings, 3 hits, 10 strikeouts, no walks, game score of 91.) Meanwhile, this year, the Padres have a knack for making any pitcher look good against them, as they're batting a collective .232/.303/.343, with a collective 82 OPS+. Just for the sake of comparison, Jake Peavy has a higher OPS+ (84) than anyone on their team other than RF Brian Giles, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, SS Khalil Greene, and LF Paul McAnulty. So just make 'em hit it on the ground, Tim. I've got a good feeling about this one. By the way, for those of you who listen to my podcast (hi, Mom!), BC Sports Treehouse Fort, the time has changed: it's now on Tuesdays from 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM, and my segment is from 9:10 to 9:30 or so. Thanks for listening!

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