Braves attempt to salvage series
Asked this afternoon if he was worried about his club after losing the first two games of this series against the Phillies, Braves manager responded, “Well we’ve won three of our past five.”
The two losses during this span came when the Braves sent a pair of rookies to the mound to face two members (Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay) of the Phillies Big Three.
On paper, the matchups were mismatches. Still the Braves walked away from both games knowing they had a chance to win. If Martin Prado’s ball hadn’t gone just foul Monday night, we might have seen a different outcome. And if Brian McCann hadn’t attempted to take third base on Derrek Lee’s sacrifice fly last night the Braves might have overcome Mike Minor’s horrendous start.
After watching Kenshin Kawakami struggle in Florida on Sept. 3, I didn’t think I’d see another start that proved to be that bad for a while. Well Minor nearly matched it two days later when he allowed the Marlins seven extra-base hits in just four innings.
They yesterday while throwing 73 pitches in just 2 1/3 innings, Minor proved to be every bit as bad as Kawakami was in Florida. Fatigued at the end of his first full professional season, the 22-year-old rookie hasn’t been able to use his fastball as a strikeout pitch this month.
Making matters worse, he has not been able to command his change or curve. Thus when he gets two strikes on a hitter, he’s basically been in throw-and-pray mode.
The Braves need to win tonight to salvage this three-game set. In fact with Tommy Hanson, Tim Hudson and Derek Lowe getting these next three starts, they need to carry a three-game winning streak into Sunday’s series finale in Washington.
When asked if Jair Jurrjens would be able to pitch Sunday, Cox quickly responded, “He better be.”
This club that has prided itself on pitching all year now heads into its final 10 games with what can be deemed just three reliable starters.
Thus I’m going to ignore what I wrote two days ago about “importance” during a baseball season and deem Jurrjens’ start against the Nationals Sunday as the most important influence on what transpires over the next few days and weeks.