David Ross is the man.
The Braves played a near-complete game on Friday night, despite battling the rain all night long. Derek Lowe pitched for the Braves and was excellent. He pitched 7 strong innings and allowed only 1 run on 4 hits and a walk. The Pirates are certainly no offensive juggernaut, but Derek Lowe delivered yet another encouraging start. If he can keep this up, combined with the return of Jair Jurrjens, the Braves could easily have the best pitching in the NL.
The Braves scored early and often on Friday night. After nearly a 90-minute rain delay, the Braves put up a 4-run 1st inning against Zach Duke, a lefty who has basically shut the Braves down last Sunday. Troy Glaus drove in Martin Prado with a single to RF and David Ross delivered a huge 2-out, 3-run double into LF to put the Braves up by 4. Chipper Jones then drove in Derek Lowe (who had doubled) in the 2nd inning with a soft fly ball to RF.
Despite a few threats by the Pirates, Chipper Jones essentially clinched the game for the Braves in the 6th. He ripped a single into left-center field that scored Derek Lowe and Martin Prado. Similar to the David Ross 3-run double, Chipper swung at the first pitch and drove the ball well. Is it me, or do the Braves seem to be a bit more aggressive at the plate? They were all over Ricky Nolasco last night and a big reason for that was not allowing the opposing pitcher to get into pitcher's counts.
And by the way...where did all the "fire Terry Pendleton" talk go once the Braves started scoring? Weird how it all just ended magically.
Eric O'Flaherty struggled in the 8th and gave up 2 runs when Andy LaRoche and Neil Walker hit back-to-back RBI doubles. Panic was starting to set in a bit, but EOF promptly got out of the inning with a 6-4-3 double play. Another long rain delay came in the 9th, but Jonny Venters worked an impressive inning with 2 strikeouts to end the game.
Braves win 7-3!
The Good, Bad and Ugly after the jump:
1. Derek Lowe - 7IP 4H 1ER 1BB/2K; That'll do.
2. David Ross - 3-for-4, 3RBI double in the 1st; Best backup catcher in the league. And it's not even close to being close.
3. Grandpa Jones - 2-for-5, 3RBI; His average is up to .234 and he's been driving the ball much better as of late.
4. Marteeeen Prado - 3-for-5, 2R; Stud. He'll have 200 hits by late August or early September at this pace.
5. Jason Heyward - 2-for-3, 1BB
1. Yunel Escobar - 0-for-4, 6 LOB
3. Eric O'Flaherty - 1IP 3H 2ER 1BB/0K
1. Zach Duke - 5.1IP 12H 7ER 2BB/4K; Ouch.
2. The Rain - Please don't stick around. The Braves have 5 games left in the current homestand and rain is in the forecast every day. Someone get Heyward to fix this.
Open Thread Comment Count: 1,375 -- WEAK! That's all you got? I demand 3,000+ tomorrow night or TC will be closed for-ev-er.