Braves 4 (51-35), Mets 2 (47-39)
WP: O'Flaherty (3-1)
LP: Dickey (6-2)
SV: Wagner (20)
Solid win for the Braves tonight. We'll talk about the pitching first, which despite the only 2 runs on the board, was kinda scattered. Tommy Hanson was forced to work by the Mets, throwing 94 pitches in 5 2/3 IP. He wasn't bad...he only allowed the 2 runs, while walking 1 and striking out 6. Not a bad start...he was just forced to labor. The bullpen was great as usual: 2 baserunners in 3 1/3, both allowed by Takashi Saito. Billy Wagner only needed 9 pitches to end the game, getting 2 weak groundouts and a popup. You know what? I'll take it.
Offensively...yeah. 11 stranded, which takes the team back to its old school ways of leaving the world on base. 2 runs came off solo homers, and 1 scored on an error. Yeesh. With the game knotted at 2 going into the 7th inning, Melky Cabrera and Omar Infante went back to back to give the Braves a 4-2 lead, which the team wouldn't relinquish. Cabrera and Infante as a matter of fact, *were* the Braves offense tonight. They combined to go 7 for 10, scoring all 4 of the team's runs. Never would have imagined that. The lineup was reconfigured at the last minute due to back spasms for Chipper Jones that forced him out of the lineup. I admit, I shuddered when I saw the lineup initially...but it ended up working out well. Brian McCann also ended up reaching base 3 times, while Glaus and Gregor Blanco each reached in a pair of plate appearances. Martin Prado was ice cold, hanging up an 0 for 5 day with a pair of strikeouts. Not his finest evening.
I want to take a minute to address something tonight that really bothered me, and that was the play of Yunel Escobar. He looked terrible in the field today, from losing a routine Ike Davis popup in the lights that turned into a double play, from winging a horrible throw over to first base that nearly resulted in hated former Brave Jeff Francoeur breaking Troy Glaus's arm, to a surefire double play ball where Escobar didn't even throw the ball to first after a takeout slide by Yunel Escobar. Garbage like that is totally unacceptable. He was *slightly* better offensively, going 1 for 4. Still not good enough. At this point, I'm wondering if trading him wouldn't be the best idea if we could get a capable shortstop in return. Hm, maybe Arizona would consider swapping him for Stephen Drew.
With the win, the Braves lead over the Mets increases to 4 games. The Phillies scored 8 straight runs against the Reds in the 9th and 10th innings to get a shocking win, so they remain 5.5 out in the NL East. I'd love to have both teams a half dozen games out at the break. It would make me feel a lot better about things.
Tomorrow's game is a FOX game, and starts at 4ish. Mike Pelfrey goes for the Mets, while All-Star Tim Hudson will start for the Braves. Yet another good pitching matchup...thats been happening a lot lately.