After the series loss to Milwaukee, the Braves were looking to get off to a good divisional-play start against the Phillies.
Friday’s home opener looked like a playoff atmosphere from the TV, and the Braves know they can bring that playoff mentality to every game, so long as they compete.
Friday marked the anniversary of Hank Aaron’s 715th home run, and Chipper proved, once again, that he is one of the most patient hitters in baseball.
Jones hit a bases loaded double to left-center field, just off the outstretched glove of Shane Victorino to clear the bases, helping the Braves earn their first home victory of the season, a place they had been nearly unbeatable in 2010.
It was Chipper’s 2,500th hit.
The first game went down with the Braves earning a 6-3 win, the first of 18 games against the Phillies, as Tim Hudson earned the W. The righty gave up 8 hits and struck out two while throwing 100 pitches.
The Braves chased starter Cliff Lee after 3 1/3 innings, giving up six runs on 10 hits. Coming into the series,
It was game’s two and three Atlanta ran into trouble.
After coming back on a two run single from Martin Prado, started Brandon Beachy was unable to hold the lead, giving up a two-run homer before the Phillies offense broke through to earn the 10-2 win.
Beachy was unable to notch his first MLB win, as the rookie’s record dropped to 0-2 with a ERA of 3.75.
Roy Oswalt breezed through the Atlanta lineup Saturday afternoon, going 6 innings and giving up two runs on five hits, and a low strikeout total of two.
Sunday, Cole Hamels looked like the 2009 World Series MVP. Hamels struck out 8, giving up 4 hits and walking one in his first victory of the season, lowering his ERA to 5.59.
The Braves had their chances to put points on the board. Chipper and Freddie Freeman came up to bat with two outs and two runners on in the bottom of the 6th and 7th innings, but were unable to muster anything productive.
With the first three games of the homestand over, the Braves can turn their attention to the Florida Marlins, the next visitor to Turner Field.
It will be the first meeting between the two clubs after Fredi Gonzalez and Dan Uggla both came over to the Braves in the offseason.
But it will not be an easy series to say the least, as Florida always plays the Braves tough.
Tommy Hanson gets a chance to get a win in Tuesday’s opener, going up against Chris Volstad.
In the middle game of the series Wednesday, both teams will send their aces to the hill, as Hudson goes opposite Josh Johnson.
In Thursday’s series finale, the Braves send Brandon Beachy to the hill oppositve Ricky Nolasco.
Florida wrapped up their series with Houston losing 7-1, but if Fredi knows his old team as well as Braves fans think he does, this series will be a tough one if Atlanta cannot bounce back from losing two straight at home.
Keys to the series:
- The Braves have always had a Marlin killer in Matt Diaz, now with Pittsburgh. If the Braves look to take the series, someone must step into the shoes voided by Diaz and punish the Marlin pitchers.
- The Marlin lineup can scare any pitcher if they make too many mistakes. As long as the Braves pitching staff can limit those, and the defense plays flawless, the Marlins stand no chance.
- Be aggressive, but not too aggressive. After watching Chipper and Freeman swing at the first pitch with runners in scoring position, the Braves cannot be too over anxious, especially against Johnson and Nolasco.
- The offense MUST wake up. After scoring 6 runs in the opener, the Braves were held to 2 runs over the next 18 innings, a bad sign for a team struggling to put things together so early in the season.
Don’t think too much into this bad start. Last year, the Braves went 9-14 in April before exploding in May. Once the weather begins to warm even more, the bats will awake from their slumber and begin punishing opposing pitching.
Notes -- Chipper has 139 career RBI’s against Philadelphia, the most for any hitter... Jones is also the 9th switch hitter to reach 2,500 hits... Hudson is 8-7 against Philadelphia and is .500 or better on his career against every NL team... Alex Gonzalez hit the 300th double of his career Saturday against Oswalt. The shortstop was 12-for-27 against Oswalt on his career... Dan Uggla and Brian McCann were held off the bases in the final two games, going a combined 0-for-15...Coming into the series, the Phillies vaunted starting rotation has an ERA of 8.54 through seven games