Goodbye Milwaukee. Hello Atlanta!
After winning the first of the four-game set against the Brewers Monday, the Braves dropped the next three to finish the seven-game road trip 3-4.
It wasn’t just a matter of the Braves offense not being able to produce. It was a matter of the Brewers pitching staff shutting the Atlanta offense down.
Milwaukee’s pitchers limited the Braves to eight runs in the four games, one of which was a 2-0 shutout Tuesday.
There are some positives the Braves can take from this series, however. Defense, pitching, and the bullpen proved three major strong-points of this club.
The Braves committed two errors through the first seven games.
The pitching staff held up on its end, allowing just 11 runs in the four-game set. But it was outdueled by the Brewer staff.
The Braves left 21 men on base in four games. That’s not a good sign for a team that added offense over the offseason.
Fredi Gonzalez is not worrying just yet.
Now, all of Braves Nation has its attention focused on Friday’s home opener against the rival Philadelphia Phillies and a matchup of two dominant starters in Tim Hudson and Cliff Lee.
Hudson gave up one run in seven innings as the Braves cruised to an 11-2 lead in the series finale in Washington. Lee struck out 11 Astros in his first start back in Philly since being traded to Seattle before ending last season with Texas. The lefty gave up three runs on four hits in the Phillies 9-4 win.
Saturday’s matchup between the division rivals has Brandon Beachy starting opposite Roy Oswalt. Oswalt got the win in his first start against Houston, a 4-3 victory. He struck out six batters in six innings of work.
Beachy pitched the opener against Milwaukee, getting a no-decision. The rookie pitched six innings, striking out seven and allowing the one run.
In the series finale, Derek Lowe will go up against Cole Hamels. Lowe is 1-1 on the season with an eye-popping 13 strikeouts. Lowe was the victim of a tough-luck loss his last time out.
Against the Brewers, Lowe went six innings, struck out seven, walked three and gave up five hits for a total of eight on the year. Hamels was shelled in his only start of the early season, going just two and two-thirds innings, giving up six runs on seven hits in a 7-1 loss to the Mets.
If the Braves are to win the series, there are a few things that must be done.
- Keep Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino off the bases.
- If they get this offense going, it is tough to stop.
- Don’t let Ryan Howard or Raul Ibanez beat you
- With Jayson Werth playing with Washington and Chase Utley on the DL, the Braves pitchers can exploit this lineup and hope their offense can break through
- Make the starters work
- Halladay, Lee, Oswalt and Hamels all like to work quick. Get their pitch counts up and get to the bullpen, where the Braves lineup can do more damage.
Notes: Heading into the homestand Chipper Jones sits at 2,498 hits, 496 doubles, 1494 RBI’s and 147 stolen bases; Chipper did not register an AB Thursday in a scheduled day off...Freddie Freeman heads into his first home opener 2-for-23 on the season with a .130 average...Matt Young registered the first hit of his career, a single to left in Thursday’s finale… The Braves host the Phillies, Marlins and Mets before taking off for a 10-game west coast swing, making stops in L.A., San Francisco and San Diego