Marlins 3 (38-43), Braves 2 (48-34)
WP: Nolasco (8-6)
LP: Hudson (8-4)
SV: Nunez (17)
Today was the Ricky Nolasco show. This guy is one of the more dangerous pitchers in the league, regardless of what his 4.69 ERA tells casual fans. He threw up aces in his start today: 11 strikeouts to only 1 walk, resulting in only a pair of Braves runs. After the first inning happened, I knew this game wouldn't end well. After the Marlins got a pair off a Dan Uggla single (on a ball that went off Tim Hudson into right field allowing the runs to score), the Braves first 3 batters reached base. They only managed one run out of the deal, nearly missing 4 as an Eric Hinske bomb to right field was caught just shy of the fence, resulting in only one run scoring instead of 4. When you've got the bases loaded and no one out...you really need to push the run home. The other Braves run came on a 6th inning homer by now 5-time All-Star Brian McCann. The Braves had a chance in the 8th to tie the game as well, with Gregor Blanco reaching on an error to begin with inning. Chipper Jones would reach on an intentional walk with 2 outs, and Melky Cabrera nearly beat out a slow infield roller to prolong the inning, but was thrown out by a step. Inning over.
Tim Hudson was nearly as good for the Braves as Nolasco was for the Marlins, but that pesky Dan Uggla got in the way. Uggla drove in all 3 Marlins runs...the 2 I mentioned in the first inning, along with a solo homer in the 4th. Aside from that, Hudson was awesome. He set a season high with 7 strikeouts while only walking 1, something I've been saying he's needed to get under control this year if he wants to retain the success he's had at this level this season. Another stat worth noting: 13 groundball outs compared to only 4 in the air. Now that is great, especially when combined with those strikeouts. The lone extra base hit for the Marlins on the day was the aforementioned Uggla homer. Hudson did everything he could to win...but the offense didn't cooperate.
No rest for the wicked, as the Braves play tomorrow in Philadelphia against the scuffling Phillies, who just completed a series against the Pirates, losing 3 out of 4 games. Seriously, 3 outta 4 to the Pirates? Unfathomable. This series could be a great chance to completely knock the Phillies out for the count in the NL East. They're already 5 back, and a sweep here would pretty much seal the deal, especially with the injury problems the team is suffering as of late. Tomorrow's pitching matchup is not in favor of the good guys: its Roy Halladay against Derek Lowe. Uh oh. Old school AL East represent!
Also worth noting is that the Braves signed Willy Taveras to a minor league deal. Just what Gwinnett needed...another version of Josh Anderson. I'm sure those two are going to have quite a fun time battling for playing time.
BravesHeart notes...Weekly Prospect Report will be up tomorrow evening, due to the fact that every affiliate had a night game tonight. I'm not staying up until midnight typing this up. HOT or NOT will also be up tomorrow evening. I'm also going to start working on putting together a midseason top 40 prospects list...its time to cut some of the dead weight off my preseason list, as its up to 3 guys that are no longer with the organization (Jeff Lyman joined Ernesto Mejia and Edgar Osuna last week on the departures list). Plus, I really don't feel like typing up lines for Ryne Reynoso, Matt Crim, and David Hale every week. Until next time folks...