Missed Opportunities Cost Braves Game, Series

Jair Jurrjens Pitched Seven Strong Innings in a Losing Effort. Photo Courtesy of Tim Evearitt.

When you can’t score a run with the bases loaded, you tend to lose. The Braves hit into two double plays with the bases loaded late in the game and the Marlins took advantage, winning the game in 11 innings, 5-4, and the series.

It appeared the Braves would take advantage of the pitching matchup and pummel Chris Volstad early, scoring a run in the first on an RBI single by Brian McCann. They also loaded the bases in the inning but Volstad got two straight outs to prevent any further damage. Eric Hinske hit a solo homer in the third for a two-run lead. However, they were held scoreless after that until the sixth.

We All Knew It Was Coming Before He Hit the Ball. Photo Courtesy of Tim Evearitt.

The rain came in the fourth and Jair Jurrjens ran into trouble. A walk and single set up an RBI single by Cody Ross and two-run triple by Wes Helms, followed by an RBI single by Brad Davis for a two-run lead. However, Jurrjens would pitch perfectly from the fifth through the seventh innings, not allowing a baserunner.

The Braves loaded the bases in the sixth and managed one run on a sac fly RBI by Melky Cabrera. Jurrjens flied out to end the inning and keep the deficit at one. Once Volstad was relieved after six innings, the Braves loaded the bases in the seventh on two walks and a single. But Troy Glaus grounded into a double play to end the threat. They finally tied it in the eighth when Cabrera doubled with two outs and Chipper Jones came off the bench with an RBI double.

The game remained tied through ten innings with nothing eventful happening. The Braves loaded the bases in the 11th on three straight singles, but the worst possible hitter came to the plate, and Nate McLouth grounded into a double play to end the inning. I understand Hinske is slow, but when he is swinging like he was today you don’t take him out in such a tight game. You have to realize his bat will be needed later in the game, and you have to realize McLouth is possibly the worst hitter in all of baseball right now. Why do you put his bat in the lineup all the way back in the seventh inning?

Naturally, with Jesse Chavez on the mound, the Braves quickly gave up the winning run in the home half of the 11th. Wes Helms singled in the winning run and had three RBIs in the game.

The Braves left 11 on base and were 3-11 with RISP. It happened all series and I’m surprised they weren’t swept. They looked that bad. This is not the team we have been watching over the past couple months. When you are constantly leaving runners on base and playing from behind, those magical eight-run comebacks don’t come around as often as you’d like.

Chipper Jones Picked Up a Big RBI Double in the Eighth. Photo Courtesy of Tim Evearitt

Hinske went 2-3 with a homer and a walk. Melky added two hits and an RBI. McCann and Chipper added an RBI each. Heyward recorded two more hits and extended his multi-hit game streak to six games while extending his hitting streak to nine games.

Jurrjens was bit by one bad inning and pitched a solid seven innings otherwise. He allowed just six hits and two walks while striking out six. You hate to use umpire and mound excuses, but I can’t help it today. Gary Cederstrom had some of the worst calls I’ve seen this season and it cost Jurrjens more pitches and probably a few hits. The mound gave Jurrjens fits, especially when it began raining, and a couple slips caused some pitches to float. But four of Jurrjens’ six hits allowed and all four runs allowed came in the fourth inning, so it shows how well Jurrjens pitched.

Peter Moylan gave up a leadoff single in the eighth but struck out the side in the middle of the Marlins order. Takashi Saito struck out two in a perfect ninth. Jonny Venters gave up a single but pitched a scoreless tenth. A day after pitching a perfect inning and receiving the win, Chavez didn’t record an out in the 11th and gave up the winning run.

The Braves get a much-needed day off to rest the bullpen and travel to Washington in preparation for a three-game series with the Nationals.

Topics: Atlanta Braves, Florida Marlins

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