The Launching Pad Returns

Instead of Oscar Villarreal's starts getting better, they have gotten progressively worse. He gave up only one hit in his first start two weeks ago, and then gave up only one run in his last start, but he didn't have command of his pitches Sunday afternoon in Atlanta. To his credit the ball was flying out of the Ted this afternoon. It reminded Bobby Cox of the Braves old stomping grounds. "We used to have these types of games at old Fulton County Stadium every Sunday," Cox said. "The ball used to really travel over there in the heat."

Cox gave Oscar a lot of credit for not letting the game get too far out of hand, "Villarreal just didn't have his perfect location today, but he got a big out. His last out he got with runners at second and third, I told him `maybe you just won us the ballgame by getting that guy out.'"

Villarreal was pulled from the game for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the third inning, and the Braves took him off the hook for the loss by scoring six runs and batting around. The big damage was done by Adam LaRoche, who hit a bases clearing double to chase Washington starter Billy Traber from the game. Since LaRoche began hitting regularly against lefties when Jordan went on the disabled list, he has managed to be just as good against them as he is verses right-handers. He is hitting .280 verses right-handers and .276 verses lefties.

Brian McCann enjoyed his second career four-hit game, drilling two doubles and two singles on the afternoon. Everyone in the lineup but Andruw Jones had a hit; that is until he crushed a Chad Cordero fastball in the eighth inning for his 30th homerun of the year. Jones is still just two for his last 28 with only two RBIs, and while he is only hitting .208 in August, his on-base percentage is higher than any other month this season, at a more-than-respectable .394 (though Saturday game).

Total on the day the Braves pounded out nine extra-base hits, marking today as a true return to the days of the launching pad. Perhaps this will be the beginnings of a streak similar to the one the team went on just after the All-Star break scoring 10+ runs in five straight games. Everyone on the team knows that each and every game is do or die at this point.

Box Score >>

Washington 6, Atlanta 13 at The New Launching Pad
Washington Record: (55-75)
Atlanta Record: (61-68)

Winning pitcher - Macay McBride (4-1)
Losing pitcher - Billy Traber (3-3)

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