David Hale is making himself tough to pull from the rotation with outings like tonight's one run performance.
Hale struck out four Reds over eight solid innings of work that saw him throw more than 20 pitches in only the first inning. He was dealing the entire night and did not find himself in much trouble at all, allowing just four base runners all night. He pitched better later on in the game, striking out three batters in the final four innings.
It is great to see from Hale, as even if he is removed from the rotation he will still be a big member of this roster either in a relief role or as rotation depth at triple-A. With the bullpen looking less as good as last year, I wouldn't count out Hale from becoming a big part of that group this season.
The runs for the Braves all came from home runs, with Justin Upton leading off the action followed later on by back-to-back-shots by Evan Gattis and Freddie Freeman. These three have led the offense all April and it continued again today. Hopefully once their bats cool off a bit Jason Heyward, B.J. Upton, Chris Johnson, and Dan Uggla will have picked up their games -- that collective went just 2-14 with two singles tonight.
It was great to see an easy inning for Craig Kimbrel. He struggled in three of his four previous outings dating back to last Saturday night when he got pulled from a non-save opportunity. I was never really worried about him, but it's definitely good to see him pumping gas and dropping curveballs on opposing hitters with great command and velocity.