Weather Warms up, Braves Bats Heat up
By Fred Owens
The Braves offense finally broke loose and had the kind of day we all knew they could have while Tim Hudson was. . .Tim Hudson. Leading after a McCann RBI in the top of the first he allowed a run in the bottom half when Chipper was called for interfering with Jason Werth. After an Espinzoa single in the bottom of the second Huddy left the Nats flailing helplessly as he retired the next 17 batters faced – including a double play that erased Espinoza. When he left after 7 he had throw 85 pitches, 56 of which were strikes. Venters came in for an inning of work and gave up a run in the 8th but the Nats were long since toast. Linebrink pitched a scoreless 9th although he walked 2 men even though he was leading by 9 runs at the time. The Nationals pitching had less success.
The Nats Jordan Zimmermann cruised through the 2nd, 3rd and fourth but the wheels came off in the fifth. After Gonzales tripled he walked Hudson and Prado doubled. Hudson was initially held at third but when Desmond dropped it Huddy scampered for home and probably gave Fredi Gonzales a heart attack when he scored with a head first slide. The Braves picked up 2 more in the 7th thanks to a bases loaded single by Brian McCann. In the 8th the Nats brought in rule 5 pick Brian Broderick for his first major league work. Broderick probably wishes he’d called in sick. The Braves scored 4 times in his 2/3 of an inning and twice more off Chad Gaudin as they batted around. On the day everybody except Tim Hudson and Freddie Freeman had hits and Freeman walked twice scored once and drove one in. Prado and McCann had three hits and Heyward two. While they weren’t facing the league’s best arms, this is the kind of explosion the new Braves lineup is capable of providing on any given day. As the lineup gets more at bats and more comfortable with itself these days will come more often. For the first time in many years there’s no lineup in the league more potentially explosive than the Braves.
In Other News. . .
Congratulations to Matt Young who scored his first major league run today when he came in as a pinch runner for Chipper and was immediately plated by Brian McCann. Commiserations to Jair Jurrjens who went on the DL after throwing a side session this morning. Mike Minor was recalled to take his spot in the rotation later in the week.