If your favorite team happens to be the Braves, they are in the locker room in Seattle, savoring their hard-fought victory.
In what has become an almost predictable manner this season, the Braves struggled to get hits, managing only five against Seattle’s stellar southpaw Erik Bedard and his bullpen cohorts. But they made them count, with Brian McCann‘s solo shot and a monstrous two run blast to dead away center by Freddie Freeman accounting for all the Atlanta runs. Freddie’s homer was so massive that you could see Eric Bedard mouth the word “wow!” on the replay when he watched the ball sail over the wall!
On the pitching side, the Braves formula was the same as usual, except a day of needed rest for Jonny Venters altered the usual sequence of things. Brandon Beachy was once again superb, throwing six innings of dominant work, fanning nine and allowing only one run, that coming via a solo homer by Adam Kennedy in the fourth inning. Beachy left after throwing 108 pitches that resulted in only three Seattle hits. George Sherrill came on to start the seventh and had nothing. He allowed two hits, though one was a chopper off home plate. He was bailed out of major trouble when Nate McLouth made a “web gem” worthy sliding catch of a sure double by Miguel Olivo. Scott Linebrink came on to clean up the mess he inherited from Sherrill. In a case that highlights how misleading relief pitcher stats can be, in an outing where he had nothing, Sherrill’s ERA went down while he also earned a hold. Eric O’Flaherty pitched a scoreless eighth inning, while a very rested Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth, mixing 98 MPH heat with nasty sliders. He picked up his 21st save in 26 chances.
The Braves once again demonstrated that a couple of long balls are all the offense you need when you have lock-down pitching. A great game for Braves fans, but I for one would love to see a little cushion for the starters. Your thoughts?