Tim Hudson did what he does best today--get ground balls. He came into the game with a 64% groundball rate, best in the major leagues. And what did he do today? Only get 17 ground balls on 23 balls in play (good for 74%). What's more, almost none of them were hit very hard (I counted only 2 hard hit balls all night in 8 innings). It's no wonder that the Pirates couldn't muster much offense off of him. It's hard to put together big innings when you can't get the ball in the air (just ask the April 2010 Braves if you doubt that).
Tim struggled with his command a bit tonight, walking 4 guys (1 intentionally) in the second and third innings. However, he got the pitcher to ground out to end a bases-loaded threat in the 2nd and got a double play to end the 3rd. Which proves once again that if you're going to be walking guys, ground balls are your best friend. After the 3rd inning, Tim needed only 53 pitches to get 15 outs, walked nobody, and gave up just 2 weak hits to Bobby Crosby (1 bloop and 1 dribbler that barely made it out of the infield).
Hudson's final line: 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 4 BB (1 IBB), 3 K, 109 pitches, and a 0.212 WPA. He also had an RBI single and a 0.028 WPA as a batter. A great night all around for Huddy.
On the other side of the ball, the Braves' bats greeted Pirates starter Ross Ohlendorf rudely, and didn't let up until he was knocked out of the game. The first 3 batters reached--a Martin Prado double, a Jason Heyward walk, and a Chipper Jones RBI single. The Braves added 2 more in the third on a 2-run moon-shot of a homer by Heyward, driving in Prado (who had walked).
The nail in Ohlendorf's coffin came in the fourth, when the Braves added 3 more on Hudson's single, a Prado groundout, and a Heyward double. The double was a laser that nearly knocked down the right-field fence. Brian McCann completed the scoring with a solo homer in the 7th off of Jeff Karstens. Looks like Mac is seeing the ball just fine now.
Ohlendorf's final line: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 1 HR, 3 BB, 3 K, and a -0.299 WPA.
All in all, it was a pleasant, stress-free win. Since we can't win walk-offs when we're on the road, that's the best possible outcome. Awards after the jump.
Co-MVPs: Tim Hudson (stat line above) and Jason Heyward-- 3/4, 2B, HR, BB, R, 3 RBI, and a 0.211 WPA.
Honorable Mention: Martin Prado (3 runs scored, 0.105 WPA) and Brian McCann (2/5 with the homer)
LVP: Ohlendorf (stat line above)
MVPILEs: Bobby Crosby-- 2/3, BB, 0.024 WPA and Jeff Karstens-- 3.1 IP in relief, only 1 run allowed.
Clutch Play: Heyward's homer (0.151 WPA)
Unclutch Play: Garrett Jones grounding into a double play to end the 3rd (-0.091 WPA)