Braves 10 (21-20), Reds 9 (23-18)
WP: Kimbrel (1-0)
LP: Cordero (1-3)
Here's a recap of the 9th inning before we start things off...
Glaus singled to right
Hinske singled to right, Glaus to second
Escobar reached on infield single to shortstop, Glaus to third, Hinske to second
McLouth singled to right, Glaus and Hinske scored, Escobar to third
Prado grounded into fielder's choice at third, Escobar scored, McLouth safe at third on error by Cairo, Ross to second
Heyward struck out
Conrad homers to left, McLouth, Ross and Prado scored
And here's a little something from Fangraphs...
I mean seriously, how does something like that even happen? The team's best hitter is the one guy who doesn't get involved in the 9th inning action, and the game is won by a guy coming off the bench after Bobby Cox pulled his 2 veteran hitters much earlier in the game due to some epic overmanaging. Its unbelievable. Let me say this: the Braves did not deserve to win this game. Before the 9th inning, only one of the team's runs was earned. The Reds defense made 4 errors on the day, and looked pretty terrible in the process. When your offense stakes you to leads of 8-0 and 9-1, the game is in the bag, especially with how well Mike Leake was pitching. Only 3 Braves hitters reached multiple times against the Reds pitching, and each of those 3 guys reached in the magical ninth: Martin Prado, Troy Glaus (who had himself a day with 3 hits), and Nate McLouth (who is slightly beginning to resemble a real life baseball player). Leake stymied the Braves for 6 innings, and the team just couldn't get anything going until they got into that Reds bullpen...which if you remember, I mentioned yesterday in the preview that it was a weakness. In the 9th inning, the 4 Reds relievers who got in the game threw 36 pitches, 15 for balls, allowed 5 hits, and 6 earned runs, while only getting 1 out. Naturally, the pitcher who got the one out faced one batter. Gotta love Dusty Baker!
Tommy Hanson was atrocious today, there is no other way around it. After the game, a report surfaced that Hanson was lightheaded when he went onto the hill, which is a huge warning sign...but in reality, there is no way to rationalize the epic pounding that the Reds gave him today. Tommy got 5 outs and allowed 10 baserunners and 8 runs. That is just straight up terrible. I can only hope a start like this is enough to make people in fantasy leagues I'm in to drop him so I can vulture him off the wire. I'll give a big tip of the cap to the Braves bullpen today. Jesse Chavez, Jonny Venters, and Craig Kimbrel threw water on the fire instead of gas and kept the game...kinda within reach. The trio combined for 7 1/3 innings and allowed 5 hits, a run, walked 3, and struck out 7. I'd be satisfied with that type of outing from a starter, but its a completely different animal out of a bullpen...well done gentlemen. More importantly, it gave the 4 other relievers out there a much needed day of rest. Saito and Wagner especially needed days off...this was a huge help.
Next up for the Braves...the NL Central run of doom continues, as the Braves head up to PNC Park to take on the Pirates. Tim Hudson vs Ross Ohlendorf is the matchup for Friday night...I like Ohlendorf more than others, but I'll save my thoughts for tomorrow's (or tonight's?) series preview. The weather has potential to be ugly, so don't be surprised if we're sitting in rain delays most of the weekend.