This is starting to get ridiculous, don't you think? Once again, Derek Lowe was on the mound, and once again, the Braves' hitters responded with a big outburst. The Braves have now scored more runs in each of Lowe's starts (16, 7, and 9) than they have scored in any of their other 7 games (topping out at 6). They have also scored 8 more runs in Lowe's starts (32) than they have in the other games combined (24). It's uncanny, and all I can really say is that I hope we can carry this kind of offense over to our other pitchers.
As for Lowe's pitching, he looked pretty good for a while, pitching out of a jam in the 1st and giving up only 1 run through 4 innings. He gave up a 3-run pinch-hit HR to Seth Smith in the 5th, though, and couldn't finish the 6th. Still, by the time he gave up those runs, the Braves already had a big lead, so his start was not a disaster by any stretch. His final line was 5.1 IP, 4 R (3 ER), 7 H, 2BB, and 5 K. His WPA was 0.056, which is much too high to qualify him for a DerekLoweWin, much as people in the game thread wanted him to get one.
(More analysis and Awards after the jump...)
Eric O'Flaherty and Kris Medlen went the last 3.2 innings all by themselves, giving up only 2 hits and a run. That gave the top 3 guys a night off, which is always a good thing. Still, I wonder why we didn't see Chavez or Dunn.
The Braves' bats got to work early off of Rockies starter Jason Hammel, loading the bases with 1 out in the 1st. Sadly, Yunel Escobar did what he does best and grounded into a bases-loaded double play. Still, Hammel couldn't keep the Braves' bats down for long--in fact, he would get only 2 more outs. In the 2nd, the Braves sent 12 men to the plate and scored 7 runs, including 5 after 2 were out. The big blows were 2-run singles by former Yankees Eric Hinske and Melky Cabrera. Both Jason Heyward and Cabrera had 2 hits in the inning. Cabrera, in fact, had nearly as many hits in that inning as he had all year up to that point (3). Manny Corpas had to come in to get the last out of the inning; Hammel's final line was an ugly one: 1.2 IP, 7 ER, 8 H, 3 BB, 1 K, and a -0.344 WPA.
The Braves would add single runs on a Hinske fielder's choice in the 3rd and a Chipper Jones solo HR in the 5th. After the HR, Chipper was greeted in the dugout by an excellent "quiet treatment" from the guys, who were clearly having fun tonight. And with good reason: every Braves starter (except Lowe) had both a hit and a run tonight. Even the slumping OFs contributed, Melky with his 2 hits and Nate McLouth with a hit and a walk.
All in all, it was a great win, even if it took way too long (3:17, practically a Yankees-Red Sox game). We also saw John Smoltz coin several new phrases, including "secondary and third-dary" (to describe pitches in a repertoire) and "one-for-awful" (to describe Kelly Johnson's legendary slump). So it was a fun night all around. Let's do it again tomorrow.
MVPs (couldn't pick just one): Eric Hinske-- 1/3, BB, R, 3 RBI, 0.180 WPA; Chipper-- 2/3, 2BB, HR, 2R, RBI, 0.075 WPA; Melky Cabrera-- 2/4, R, 2 RBI, 0.093 WPA... J-Hey and Prado also had 2 hits.
LVP: Jason Hammel
MVPILE (MVP in a losing effort): Seth Smith-- 1/1, HR, R, 3 RBI, 0.049 WPA
Clutch Play: Hinske's 2-run single in the 2nd (0.117 WPA)
TC Game Thread Comments: 2302
In case anyone is curious about the WPA figures or wants to see the Game Graph, here's the link. Good stuff.