Series Recap - Braves @ Red Sox
Starting pitching. Quality starts across the board for Kawakami, Lowe & Jurrjens (5 runs, but only 2 earned). Every really pitched well enough to win, but only Kawakami did...Lowe could blame his loss on the offense getting their souls taken by Josh Beckett, while Jurrjens can blame his no decision on bad umpiring and sloppy defense. The bullpen didn't get a whole lot of work this series, which could be considered good...though if he was that rested, why did Soriano not get the cal in the 9th today? I guess Bobby was "saving him for the save". Doof.
The dynamite duo. Gonzalez & Soriano's line for the series: 3 perfect innings, 5 strikeouts. This is what we imagined out of these two all season. Soriano has been fantastic all year, while Gonzalez has had his struggles, but overall has been great, with his ERA falling to 2.25 today. Assuming they don't get overworked, having these 2 guys pitching the way they are right now will essentially ensure that once we get to the 8th inning with a lead, its all over, no matter who is doing the closing.
Garret Anderson. I hated the Garret Anderson signing. Like, really hated it. I've come around on things a bit, close to halfway through the season. Anderson went 6/10 with 5 RBI and 2 runs this series to raise his average up to .280 and his OPS is now a hit or walk away from .700. Baby steps, people. With Anderson coming along to the point of average production, the Braves can probably only have to continue searching for one outfielder over the next few weeks, not two.
The OTHER dynamite duo.
Nate McLouth and Yunel Escobar combined to go 10 for 26 with 5 runs. Escobar did have a key non-error today on the Ortiz popup that lead to a run, though. If him or Chipper makes that play, the game goes in a completely different direction.
Rest of the bullpen. Moylan struck out 3 of the 5 batters he faced, while O'Flaherty got 3 outs and allowed a hit over 2 games and 13 pitches. The man is efficient, if not anything else. Jeff Bennett on the other hand, struggled on Saturday, and allowed a walk off homer on his first pitch today. I'm still a little confused as to why Bennett was in the game in the first place.
The rest of the offense. Some players left a lot to be desired. Casey Kotchman, right after I put over his success vs Boston on Thursday, got 1 hit. Matt Diaz had one hit and recorded a backbreaking strikeout today. The regular second baseman only got a single hit, but did walk twice. The right fielder went hitless. These are the guys the team needs to get going to get some runs on the board. You know what you're getting out of the top 4-5 spots in the order. Its the back end of the lineup that needs to put some big hits together, because the Braves really can't afford to give away a guaranteed 9 outs a game.
Bullpen...underuse? Yeah, I'm kind of considering this as a negative. Bobby once again stuck to his 5 favorite relievers, and didn't let the shockingly effective Manny Acosta or the young Kris Medlen throw a pitch in the series. Neither Medlen nor Acosta has been used since last Sunday in Baltimore. The lack of Acosta perplexes me, as Bobby would constantly throw him into the fire last year, but doesn't seem to be doing the same this year, despite his improvements. As for Medlen, I think he's just being used as the 25th man on the roster until Campillo or Carlyle is ready to come off the DL. It makes no sense to me to keep him in the majors if you're not going to use him at all. At least send him back down to Gwinnett to get some regular work in, and at the very least, showcase him for a possible trade in July.
Red Sox win 2-1
June 19th: Braves 8, Red Sox 2
June 20th: Red Sox 3, Braves 0
June 21st: Red Sox 6, Braves 5