Game Preview: Atlanta Braves (8-8) at Cincinnati Reds (9-7)



Atlanta Braves (8-8) at Cincinnati Reds (9-7)

Pitching matchup: Derek Lowe (1-1, 3.27 ERA) vs. Bronson Arr0yo (3-0, 4.29 ERA)

Time: 1:10 p.m. EDT

Location: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati

TV: SportSouth Radio: 640 WGST

Weather: Partly Cloudy, 82 degrees

Twitter: Tomahawk Take

A winning streak is a winning streak, no matter how you look you at.

Sure, the Atlanta Braves (8-8) have mustered two consecutive road-victories after dropping four of the first five road games on the current trip, but how these Braves have done it is truly bizarre.

There was the bases-loaded walk against the Washington Nationals on Wednesday during the ninth inning which brought in the eventual game-winner.

Then there was last night.

In the first game of a three-game set with the Cincinnati Reds (9-7), the Braves were walked 10 times — five of those came in the fourth inning where two runners found home plate on consecutive bases-loaded walks. Yes, the offense did go on to produce a Jeff Francoeur solo home run and a decisive Matt Diaz RBI single but that’s really beside the point.

The point is the offense has been patient. They have taken the pitcher deep into counts and have been handsomely rewarded.

We all know we’d like to see these Braves bats score 10 runs every game, but, let’s face it, that’s not possible. With the starting pitchers so dominant and the bullpen finally regaining form, the offense doesn’t have to blow out the opposition.

As long as the Braves can provided run support for the arms, they’ll consistently be in a position to win ball games.

With that, on to today’s game.

Derek Lowe (1-1, 3.27 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Braves, after allowing three runs on seven hits in six innings against the Washington Nationals on Monday — his first loss in his last nine starts.

The right-hander ran into trouble locating his sinker and left too many pitches up in the strike zone. He also allowed an unusually high amount of fly ball outs — eight on the night.

Lowe is 3-1 with a 2.86 ERA in four career starts against Cincinnati. He made just one start in 2008 at the Great American Ball Park when he tossed 5 1/3 innings of one run ball.

Lowe will take on former Boston Red Sox teammate Bronson Arr0yo (3-0, 4.29 ERA), who is the first Cincinnati starter to win his first three starts since the 1997 season when former Brave Mike Remlinger accomplished the feat.

This past Monday, Arroyo tossed seven solid innings in a win against the Houston Astros where he allowed three runs on nine hits while striking out six.

Arroyo is about as economical as they come, so Atlanta hitters need to make him work. As indicative by his last start where he threw just 81 pitches, if he falls into jams early, the bullpen could be called upon by as early as the fifth inning.

Chipper Jones (9-for-20, two home runs, six RBIs), Kelly Johnson (3-for-6) and Casey Kotchman (6-for-12, one home run) have all fared well off Arroyo.

With Brian McCann out of today’s lineup, David Ross will once again takeover catching duties.