The big attraction for the day was Tommy Hanson, making his major league debut, and his game was a story of two halves. For the first nine batters Hanson was unhittable and dominant, and struck out the side in the second inning. But then he became a mortal, though really he only made a few mistakes. The unfortunate part about those three mistakes is that they were of the two-run homerun variety. We knew that Hanson was a bit prone to giving up the longball, and facing a team with power throughout their lineup, he was bitten by the gopher ball.
On a whole, I liked the outing by Hanson. He showed us a lot in those first three innings, he only walked one, and even after the homeruns he kept his composure on the mound. We keep thinking he's a super-human, but we have to remember that he's still a rookie and he's going to take his licks. I also think the day game has something to do with it; as I've written before, Hanson is not as sharp during the day (here are his number at triple-A this year):
Day Games: 3GS, 0-and-1, 3.18 ERA, .231 BAA, 3HR
Night Games: 8GS, 3-and-2, 0.91 ERA, .146 BAA, 2HR
If the main attraction was the kid, then the offensive star on the day was the old man, Chipper Jones. Chipper belted two homeruns, a triple, a single, and then they didn't want to pitch to him anymore and walked him. He drove in the Braves first five runs of the game.
Nate McLouth started in the leadoff spot and had a key double in the eighth that drove in the tying run. Yunel Escobar, who also had a big day at the plate, going 3-for-4, followed McLouth with a hit to drive him in for the go-ahead run.
Despite 8 runs being scored by Atlanta, the offense still looked frail. The biggest black hole in the lineup continues to be Jeff Francoeur, who is just 2-for-14 since his game-winning homerun last week. He killed several rallies today with a double-play and some weak groundouts, and I don't believe he got the ball out of the infield all day.
Mike Gonzalez finished it off in shaky fashion in the ninth for his first save in two weeks.
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