Atlanta played host this week to both the New York Mets, and the Cincinnati Reds. All four games were decided by one run, and Atlanta got the best of three of them. This week more than any showed me that the Braves are indeed for real. What separates the good teams from the bad is not only winning, but winning tight ball games.
Game 1 was Atlanta’s solo loss of the week against New York by a final score of 3-2. Derek Lowe (5-4) looked impressive going 7 innings giving up 4 hits, and only 3 earned runs. Lowe was just out pitched on this night by New York’s Mike Pelfrey who also went 7 innings only surrendering 2 runs. The Braves only real offense came in the 5th inning when Eric Hinske belted a solo home run off Pelfrey.
Game 2′s rubber match was all about execution, and New Yorks 3rd baseman David Wright did not. Wrights throwing error in the bottom of the 9th inning gave Atlanta a walk off victory. This isn’t necessarily the way I’d want to win a ball game, but I will certainly take it. David Wright is among the elite 3rd baseman in the game, and will win New York a lot more games then he will lose them for sure. Troy Glaus has been Atlanta’s hottest hitter in the month of May hitting .371 with 4 homers, and 18 RBI’s. I have been saying for months now that Glaus has been the unluckiest hitter in baseball statistically. Every at-bat Glaus tears the cover off the ball only to be robbed of a hit. You can be lucky, or unlucky in baseball for a game, week, or even a month, but you can’t be for an entire season. One of his 4 home runs came off Mets ace Johan Santana. The game ended in the bottom of the 9th when Melky Cabrera hit a swinging bunt down the 3rd base line to Wright who made the game ending throwing error giving the Braves the 3-2 edge.
Jason Heyward came up huge in game 1 against Cincinnati with a final out walk off RBI single to win the game 5-4. Heyward bailed out Braves closer Billy Wagner after he gave up the game tying run in the top half of the inning. Heyward finished the day 3-5 including his first major league triple, and 2 doubles. Jason Heyward has already won the rookie of the year in my eyes, and could have his sights set on the national league MVP award. After watching the E60 special on Heyward you can’t help but root for a guy who does so much to help others. I will be ordering me #22 jersey shortly. Kenshin Kawakami (0-6) can’t seem to buy a win. The Braves starter went 6 innings and gave up zero runs only for the bullpen to allow the game to be tied up. Other offense was provided by Brian McCann’s 1st inning home run off Aaron Harang. Atlanta went on to win the game 5-4 thanks to Heyward’s 9th inning heroics.
Todays day game against Cincinnati may have been the game of the year for the Braves. Trailing the Red’s 9-3 in the bottom of the 9th inning the Braves scored 7 runs including a walk off grand slam by the pinch hitting Brooks Conrad. I felt like a little kid watching this 9th inning unravel. I even scared a friend of mine half to death by screaming with excitement during the grand slam by Conrad. Atlanta opened the 9th with 4 straight hits including a 2 run single by center fielder Nate McLouth. Tommy Hanson got the start for Atlanta in his worst outing of the season lasting only 1.2 innings giving up 8 earned runs, including a grand slam to Joey Votto. The Braves bullpen quieted the Red’s bats for the rest of the game enough for the 30 year old Conrad to create some fireworks.
These are the type of games good teams come out on top of. Atlanta is now above .500 for the first time since April with a record of (21-20). They are only 4.5 games behind the division leading Phillies, and look to shorten the gap this weekend against the Pirates. Braves ace Tim Hudson will take the bump in game 1 on Friday.
About the Author
Written by Bill Furey
My name is Bill Furey, and I am from Chelmsford, Massachusetts. I am 25 years old, and a complete baseball guru. This will be my first year blogging for major league baseball, and I am really looking forward to both voicing my opinion as well as covering games. As a former 3rd basemen for the University of Massachusetts-Lowell I got the amazing opportunity to compete, admire, and most importantly learn from some of the most talented players, and coaches this great game has to offer. Growing up in New England I have always been a die hard fan of the Sox, Pats, Celts, and Bruins. My love, understanding, and respect for the game of baseball takes major precedent in my life. I currently coach one of Massachusetts best 13 year old baseball teams. Teaching the game of baseball to young talented players is something I truly look forward to every time I take the field. The relationships I built from this wonderful game are better than any home run, stolen base, or any winning season. Baseball has given me life lessons I couldn't have learned anywhere else in the world. A baseball quote that best describes my passion for the game is this: "You see, you spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." Jim Bouton, Ball Four, 1970. I look forward to covering the Atlanta Braves this season, and getting some great feedback from my followers. Play ball.