Braves 4 (55-38), Padres 1 (54-38)
WP: Jurrjens (3-3)
LP: LeBlanc (4-8)
SV: Wagner (22)
Just a solid all-around game...the offense wasn't at its peak, but the key players delivered to get the job done. The pitching on the other hand, WAS at its peak, and thats what we'll talk about right now. Jair Jurrjens made his third start since coming off the DL, and posted his third straight quality start...tonight's outing was his best in his return. JJ went 7 innings and only allowed a single run (off a solo homer in the second inning), to go with his 5 hits and 3 walks. More telling? The 7 strikeouts he logged. Jurrjens getting the Ks is something he's going to need...he'll walk his share of guys, and allow a few homers, so he's going to need to strike batters out in order to continue to succeed. As for his success on the season...his ERA is down to 4.25, and while his FIP is still high at 4.69, we're still in small sample size mode right now. Jonny Venters and Billy Wagner got 6 straight outs to end the game. Can't stop this pen right now.
Lets talk offense now. 8 hits, 6 walks, only 4 runs...9 more stranded tonight, which is an unacceptable total, but at this point, its something that I've come to learn to live with. This is a team that puts a lot of men on base, but does it via the walk...and as a result, less of those men score due to the lack of hits. It happens. Not necessarily a bad thing. But anyway. The Braves first 2 runs came as a result of the scorching hot Matt Diaz and a 2-run homer in the 4th. The Braves other 2 runs would come in the 7th inning, when Jason Heyward followed up a Martin Prado double with one of his own to bring in run number 3. A few batters later, the bases would be loaded for Diaz again, who singled in Heyward. Homers in 3 straight games and 7 RBI in those 3 games for Diaz...dear lord is he on fire at the moment. Just like the team rode the hot Eric Hinske earlier in the season, the team is riding the hot Matt Diaz. I'm all in favor of this. Worth noting is that Heyward also had 3 hits tonight, and is 6/17 with 4 runs since coming off the DL last Thursday. He's a huge cog in this offense, and its great to see him healthy and hitting again. Every Braves starter would reach base, with Omar Infante and Troy Glaus each walking a pair of times to go with their zilch total of hits.
The Braves are back tomorrow, and will send Tommy Hanson to the mound to take on one of my least favorite pitchers in all of baseball, the perennial overachiever Jon Garland. God I hate him. Here's hoping for more carnage in the NL East standings!
BTW: Phillies lost tonight, and are now 7 back in the East. Mets are losing 3-0 in the 5th and would drop to 6.5 back with a loss. I said it on Twitter, and I'm going to say it now...this is going to be the week where the Braves drive the nails into the coffin of the NL East contenders.