Braves 4 (60-45), Mets 1 (53-53)
WP: Hudson (12-5)
LP: Santana (8-6)
SV: Wagner (25)
Ah yes, this is what I'm talking about. The Braves put 3 runs on the board in the first inning against Johan Santana, and that was all the team would need. Thankfully, Tim Hudson was pitching effectively, because after that first inning, Santana got into a decent groove and starting striking out Braves hitters left and right: he finished with 11 Ks on the evening. The offense managed to pound out 11 hits against Santana and Bobby Parnell, stranding 9 (as per the norm). Omar Infante and Jason Heyward got on base to start the game, and after a fielder's choice moved Infante to third, Matt Diaz (hitting cleanup tonight, as he absolutely murders Santana) doubled down the left field line to bring in Infante. After an Alex Gonzalez grounder resulted in Chipper being thrown out at the plate, Troy Glaus walked (he did something, yay!) to load the bases for new Brave Rick Ankiel, who delivered in his home debut, singling up the middle to bring in Diaz and Gonzalez. Bam, 3-0 in the first inning. The Mets couldn't get out of it. The Braves tacked on another run in the 7th on a solo homer by Chipper, but there were so many more chances for more runs. The team led off the 2nd, 3rd, and 6th inning with doubles and couldn't drive any of the runners home. It was really disheartening to see the offense sputter after a hot start and not be able to deliver with runners in scoring position, only going 3/16 on the day...but that IS better than the dismal display put on in Cincinnati. Overall for the game...Infante had a pair of singles, Diaz had a pair of doubles, Glaus reached twice, and Ankiel had a single and a double. It was a nice display...but man, it could have been so much more with another timely hit or two.
Tim Hudson only allowed 1 run on the evening, but he labored, only getting through 6 innings and throwing 107 pitches. 9 Mets reached base against Huddy by walk or hit, and he also allowed one to reach on a throwing error on himself, which led to the lone Mets run of the evening. Hudson just looked a little off tonight, despite what the results may indicate. He only struck out 3 Mets hitters, threw first pitch strikes to less than half the batters he faced on the evening, and got only 5 ground ball outs compared to 10 in the air. Sometimes, its better to be lucky than good...that was Hudson tonight. The bullpen sealed the deal with 3 scoreless innings. Jonny Venters and Billy Wagner sandwiched perfect innings around an 8th where Takashi Saito allowed a pair of hits that gave the Mets a bit of a scoring threat before getting out of things unscathed. I don't think Venters should have pitched tonight...he's now thrown 8 innings in 10 days. Thats a tad bit excessive, even for a pitcher who used to be a starter. Thats why Kyle Farnsworth was acquired...to give the bullpen another capable arm and allow the guys who Bobby has been leaning on to get a little extra rest. I'd better see THE FARNS come out rocking his nerdy glasses of doom at Turner Field tomorrow. Lord knows I'll probably do a cartwheel when he starts throwing his gas on the mound.
The Braves pick up an all important half game in the standings on the Phillies and Marlins, and a full game on the Mets. To recap: Philly 3 out, Florida 7 out, Mets 7.5 out. Got it? Good.
Tomorrow: the Mets "big find" of the year RA Dickey will hop on the hill to take on the disgrace of the deep south, Derek Lowe. Here's hoping he's able to at least throw a quality start out there.