dealing. He struck out 11 Braves in his 8 1-run innings, only allowing 5 singles. The sole Braves run came in the second inning after a pair of singles, a sac bunt (in the second inning. It defies logic), and a groundout. The shocking part is that 2 Braves actually each had 2 hits, with the rest of the team only getting 1. Those 2 Braves? Always hot Troy Glaus and never hot Melky Cabrera. Of *course* Melky Cabrera would have 2 hits on a night where the rest of the offense was impotent. The top 7 Braves in the order all had a strikeout...the bottom 2 didn't. Of course, those bottom 2 were Cabrera and backup catcher David Ross. Jason Heyward visited the gift shop at Target Field and bought himself a golden sombrero. He looks good in it. 18 strikeouts on the 9 games so far on this road trip for the rookie stud. Depressing. Then again, no one on the team could really do much of anything against Liriano...because when he is on, he is *on*. Dude needs a day off badly but won't get it with the Nate McLouth injury.
Speaking of the Nate McLouth injury...he's going on the DL tomorrow, and who's going to replace him on the roster? Of course, its the man with an OPS a hair north of .600 in the minors this season, Jordan Schafer. Schafer's role will apparently be the fifth outfielder on the team behind Eric Hinske, Cabrera, Heyward, and Gregor Blanco. It makes no sense to me to bring Schafer up just to have him rot away on the bench. People are going to say "well, he was the only real option!" But thats not the issue. Omar Infante is essentially being used as an outfielder now, so why not bring Brandon Hicks back up to essentially replace Infante? Doesn't make sense.
Update: David O'Brien just tweeted that Hicks will be brought up to replace McLouth on the roster due to Infante's bruised foot suffered tonight. THE BASEBALL GODS HAVE LISTENED TO ME!!!
Another thing. Why are people getting so up in arms about this Chris Resop business? Its *Chris Resop* people. He has never been an effective pitcher in majors, and after 2 months of solid play in Gwinnett, he's all of a sudden some sort of major cog that the team really needs to work to accommodate? There are plenty of pitching starved teams out there who would be willing to dump a C or D level prospect off on the Braves to take Resop off their hands. Why not just do that, shades of the Blaine Boyer trade last season, and get someone who can at least provide a slight bit of minor league depth and allowing someone younger to possibly shine at Gwinnett? Maybe I'm too much of a pessimist. I dunno.
Back to the Twins. Tomorrow's game will be starting at 7:10, and it will be Derek Lowe going against Nick Blackburn. Blackburn has some of the most insane peripherals I've ever seen, and I'm really intrigued to see what the hell he actually does on the mound. Lowe is the man we all know who makes us want to light ourselves on fire, and we'll see if tomorrow's performance makes his disastrous start against Arizona on Monday fade away. God, I really hope it will.
The lead is down to 1.5...over the Mets. Phillies are in THIRD (~!~!~!) at 2.5 back, with the Marlins and Nationals 4.5 and 5 games out respectively. So the Braves should still be in first at the end of the weekend...fingers are crossed here guys!
Twins 2 (36-25), Braves 1 (35-27)
WP: Liriano (6-3)
LP: Hudson (6-2)
SV: Rauch (16)
Well, now wasn't that a uh...depressing game? At least it was over very, very quickly. Pitching was the story in this game. The teams COMBINED for one walk, which was by Tim Hudson in the critical 6th inning. Huddy was marvelous through 6, facing only 2 above the minimum. Then came the 7th inning, which would be his downfall. The Twins got a pair of runs on 5 singles...2 of which didn't leave the infield. Seriously, he got beat by infield hits. Its pretty unreal when you really think about it...god help us all. After striking out Jim Thome on a nasty pitch, all he needed was a double play to get out of the inning and go to the 8th with a lead...unfortunately, Jason Kubel and Delmon Young of all people hit back to back singles to give the Twins the lead and eventual victory. Hudson would pitch a scoreless 8th to get a complete game loss. It bears repeating: you will not succeed in this game as a pitcher if you're not striking guys out. Hudson got 2 on the night, 1 of which was the aforementioned Thome at bat in the 7th in a hugely critical situation. His K:BB for the season is now 36 to 30. I feel like I keep saying the same things over and over, but it bears repeating...if you're striking out a number of batters THAT LOW (3.80 per 9. Seriously), you're not going to do well, and I don't really give a damn what your other peripherals look like. Its pathetic.
Speaking of pathetic...the Braves offense sure didn't show up today, but in all due fairness...Francisco Liriano was