Series Recap: Braves @ Reds
Bullpen management. Jair Jurrjens only went 2, but Jeff Bennett picked up the slack and went 4 in relief. Javier Vazquez finished the game, albeit in 8 innings. Tommy Hanson went 6 strong. Gonzalez got used twice, while Soriano, O'Flaherty, Moylan & Bennett each only came out of the pen once...Manny Acosta & Kris Medlen didn't pitch at all and got some needed rest after their efforts in Baltimore. The pitching as a whole this series was very strong, despite the 7 spot on Tuesday (4 of the runs were unearned due to a throwing error on Chipper). When your pitching only allows 7 earned over 3 games, you're expected to get at least 2 out of 3.
Outfield production. They're starting to come along...the quartet of Anderson, Diaz, McLouth and the right fielder (getting close!) went 12/40 over the series, which is an even .300 clip. They also combined to drive in 7 of the Braves 12 runs in the series, and scored 6 of them. Hey, with the production the Braves have been getting out of the outfield this season, something like this is welcome.
Corner infielders. Kotchman, in his return to the lineup, and Chipper did nothing outstanding, but nothing horribly bad either (aside from Chipper's throw on Tuesday). Kotchman's plate discipline was welcomed in a lineup that loves to hack, hack, and hack some more.
Tommy Hanson. Our weekly Hanson watch continues...why was he meh, considering he threw a shutout? The abundance of walks and lack of strikeouts makes me nervous. He had the hits under control today, which was an issue in Baltimore. But the other issue in Baltimore, the walks, didn't go away. Way too many fly balls too...12 as compared to 4 groundouts. Thats really, really worrisome, but thank god the gods of luck were on his side, because in a park like Great American, those pop flies can just keep carrying, and carrying...
Middle infield. Ho hum. Escobar had the big 2 run homer on Wednesday, but only one other hit in the series. Kelly Johnson went hitless, and Martin Prado threw up a 1/5 with a start Thursday and a pinch AB on Wednesday. Total line? 3/27. Thats embarrassing. The overall consistency of this team is an absolute mess right now...when the half the team is going, the other half is stomping on a rake and smashing themselves in the face with it.
Crappy luck. The Braves pitched well enough to sweep this series. It was a one run game going into the bottom of the 8th on Tuesday, and then Gonzo got into a little trouble (like he usually does in non-save situations), Chipper amplified the situation, and the floodgates were opened. But also in that game...12 hits, and 2 runs? Seriously? When you get TWLEVE HITS, you should at least be able to push more than 2 runs across the plate. The right fielder blew a prime scoring opportunity in the sixth, and the second baseman did the same in the eighth. Just embarrassing...Wednesday was bad too, with Vazquez pitching his heart out, and making one mistake (which he is prone to do) to the PITCHER no less, which sealed the deal. The patience just wasn't there after Owings left the game...Arthur Rhodes getting 3 outs on 5 pitches? All on weak groundouts to the left side, and NONE of the hitters were part of the package of suck? Unbelievable. Things went a little better today, but I would have liked to save some runs for another day...but such is life with the Braves. When it rains, it pours.
The series preview for this weekend, in Boston vs the Red Sox, will be up sometime this evening...I'm also going to get the pitching part of the Gwinnett prospect preview up. Busy night for me!
Reds win 2-1
June 16: Reds 7, Braves 2
June 17: Reds 4, Braves 3
June 18: Braves 7, Reds 0