Braves 4 (23-20), Pirates 2 (18-25)
WP: Lowe (6-4)
LP: Morton (1-8)
Let me get this out of the way right off the bat: Derek Lowe got outpitched last night by Charlie Morton, and the Braves still won the game. The Braves first 3 runs game in the second and third innings, 2 of which were on homers. After those innings, until the 9th, the team...got nothing. 2 baserunners from innings 4 through 8, with one of them being erased on a pickoff. Javier Lopez and Evan Meek pitched the perfect 7th and 8th, so its not right to give Morton all the credit. Lowe once again struggled with his stamina, throwing 99 pitches and getting pulled after only 5 innings. Yup, that means that it was time to overwork the bullpen yet again. Peter Moylan, Eric O'Flaherty, and Takashi Saito all got into their FOURTH game in the last 6, and Moylan and Saito were expected to pitch more than an inning. It is absolutely inane to allow Saito especially to pitch that much while he's coming back from surgery. He allowed 3 baserunners over his 4 outs, but got out of his outing unscathed. The bullpen did a fine job bailing Lowe's overworking ass out, throwing 4 scoreless innings. This bullpen management really hamstrings the Braves today...there is no way any of those 3 men get into their FIFTH game of the week today, and I doubt Billy Wagner will get into his 4th of the week. And considering Kris Medlen is pitching, and he's a converted reliever...yeah. Things are not looking good. Essentially, we're looking at Jonny Venters, Jesse Chavez, and Cristhian Martinez for the back end of the game today. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.
Offensively, the Braves could only scrape 4 runs across the board, but it was enough. 2 runs came off solo homers by Eric Hinske and...Melky Cabrera?! Yeah, Melky hit his first homer of the year...he'd also add a single to notch his first multi hit game in 3 weeks. Unbelievable. The Braves third run would come off a Chipper Jones groundout, and the final insurance run came in the 9th inning on a strikeout where Brian McCann controversially reached on a wild pitch. Chipper would end up with a pair of singles and a walk. Martin Prado walked twice, Jason Heyward singled and walked, while Hinske would add a walk to his homer. All in all, the Braves walked 6 times and had 7 hits...only 2 of the extra base variety, the aforementioned homers by Cabrera and Hinske. As usual, Yunel Escobar was the one Braves starter not to reach base...he went 0 for 4 and saw 13 pitches. Absolutely pathetic. He's now getting out-OPSed by Melky. Embarrassing.
Today's game starts at 1:35, and yes, it WILL be televised! I still can't watch it though. As mentioned earlier, Kris Medlen will take the hill against Zach Duke. Nice little matchup of youngsters....though Duke has been around for a few years, so I'm not sure if I can still call him a youngster. Whatever.