I have jury duty in the morning, so while I gear up for my civic responsibility, I can report that the Atlanta Braves defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks this afternoon, 1-0.
The lone run was a solo homer in the third by Alex Gonzalez. Tim Hudson got the win to go to 13-7, while Craig Kimbrel picked up his 39th save. Kimbrel is getting ever close to that record for most saves by a rookie, set last season by Texas’ Neftali Perez.
This victory wraps up a three-game sweep of Arizona and also finishes off a very impressive homestand. The Braves went 7-3 and while it took a small dent in the Phillies lead in the NL East (now at 6.5), it stretched their wild card lead to 8 over the Giants and 10 over St. Louis. The Braves took 3 of 4 from SF before crushing Arizona. However, San Fran couldn’t take advantage of Arizona’s woes, and remains a game-and-a-half back in the West. You don’t want to call the wild card race over, especially with six weeks remaining, but it does seem that way.
Atlanta’s pitching is just too good. Kimbrel is an automatic save (100mph on the radar gun Friday), so Atlanta knows that if they take a lead into the late innings, odds are they will get the win. That confidence boost should not be taken lightly. The offense is respectable though there are problems (Jason Heyward’s .218 average, for one), but the lineup is sound, top to bottom. Michael Bourn gives the Braves pop and speed at the top, which was a glaring need. I’m starting to really like this team.
More good news is that some pitchers may be coming back from injuries. Peter Moylan is supposed to begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Gwinnett this week. He’ll throw for an inning every second or third day. Tommy Hanson will have a bullpen session in Chicago as he comes back from shoulder tendinitis. If it goes well, Hanson could report to Gwinnett by the weekend.
On a sad note, Ernie Johnson Sr., the long-time radio voice of the Braves through much of their time in Atlanta, passed away last week. Atlanta is set to debut a patch in his honor. They’ll wear it for the rest of the season. It’s a fitting tribute.
About the Author
Written by John Morgo
John Morgo lives in Atlanta, GA where he has done broadcast work for CNN, The Weather Channel and Encompass Digital Media. As of right now, he does Internet play-by-play for Georgia Perimeter College and Norcross High School. With GPC, he is the voice of the men's soccer, basketball, and baseball teams.