The Atlanta Braves came home following a successful 7-2 road trip to Colorado, Chicago and St. Louis. The Braves earned the sweep against the Rockies and Cardinals and were able to do so because of great pitching and clutch offense. To start off their short four game home stand, the Braves welcomed the Cincinnati Reds to Turner Field for a quick two-game series.
How did the series turn out for the Braves?
In the opening game, the Braves lost 3-1 after Brandon Phillips connected with a go-ahead RBI double in the eighth inning and later scored on a double by Chris Heisey. The Braves inability to score (10 left on base) when they had the chance to spoiled a great start by rookie Randall Delgado. Delgado went 6 2/3 innings with just one earned run allowed on four hits and three walks. He recorded four strikeouts and lowered his ERA to 3.79.
With each start, Delgado is continuing to gain more confidence and is making it more difficult for Fredi Gonzalez to make a decision about who to demote when Jair Jurrjens is ready to come back from the minors. Delgado deserves to be in the starting rotation, which could force the Braves to do something with the struggling Mike Minor.
In the second game, the Braves picked up the 6-2 win after hammering Johnny Cueto, who came into the start with the best ERA in baseball. The Braves torched him for five earned runs on eight hits in just four innings, putting the first loss on his 2012 record.
Atlanta was led by Tim Hudson who went seven innings, allowing just two earned runs on nine hits. He struggled in the seventh inning, but Kris Medlen and Craig Kimbrel were able get past the Reds in the final two innings. Offensively, it was Michael Bourn and Martin Prado who each recorded three hits to pace the Braves, who also got a home run from Brian McCann.
McCann is off to the slowest start of his career, but my hope is that this home run will help him turn it around. He is hitting just .243 this year, but his struggles haven't sabotaged the Braves offense this season because of the re-emergence of Bourn, Prado, Chipper Jones and Dan Uggla.
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Hobson Lopes has been a life-long Atlanta Braves fan, thanks to TBS, and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.
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