It was the much anticipated return of one Brandon Beachy and while things weren’t exactly stellar, the Braves found rallied from a five-run deficit and capped off a wild one in Atlanta by a final score of 9-8 in 10 innings over the Colorado Rockies.
The big story of the night was Brandon Beachy and his return from Tommy John surgery. If one were to look at the box score, you would say the Beachy struggled mightily and that would be true–for the most part.
Beachy did have good stuff for the most part, striking out five and only walking walking one, but a lot of his pitches were belt high and the Rockies punished them and punished them hard. That is something that eventually will get better as Beachy gets more starts.
The final line on Beachy was 3 2/3 innings eight hits, seven runs (all earned), a walk, five strike outs and two home runs. It wasn’t the prettiest of nights for him, but, again, it was his first start coming back from elbow surgery and it’s something that was sort of expected. However, as usual, there was good that came with the bad and Beachy did seem like his old self out on the mound–something the Braves will need rely on come later in the season.
Outside of Beachy’s return, the Braves offense continues to roll. Trailing by five, the Braves sent 11 men to the plate and scored six times in the bottom of the third inning. I think it’s safe to say that Fredi Gonzalez may have found a lineup that works. The offense pounded out 12 hits, nine runs, and were 5-10 with runners in scoring position tonight.
Another interesting note was the work of the Braves bullpen. The bullpen was able to cover for Beachy by going 6 1/3 innings of seven hit, one run (off of Jordan Walden), two walk and five strike out baseball. For a team that has been forced into roles in which they are not accustomed to, that is some fine work.
Not to mention Scott Downs, who was acquired hours before game time, didn’t even have time to take a seat and ended up picking the win for the Braves. Downs was able to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning on the first pitch to Todd Helton as a Brave and worked out of a jam in the tenth inning as well. I think Frank Wren made a very smart move by acquiring him (and I’m saying that because he is University of Kentucky grad and I’m biased).
Think Andrelton Simmons likes hitting down in the lineup? Simmons was at it again tonight, going 3-5 with two RBIs–one of which was the game winner. Simmons is now batting .249 for the year and in my eyes looks a lot more comfortable batting down in the lineup rather than having to set the table for the big guys in the middle of the lineup.
If there weren’t enough story lines in this game, let’s add another one. Chris Johnson continues his hot-hitting ways by collecting two hits and two RBIs and raising his National League-leading batting average to .339. If it hasn’t been guys like Freddie Freeman, Brian McCann and others leading the charge, it has been Chris Johnson consistently hitting the ball all over the ballpark. Again, another smart move by Frank Wren and company.
The Braves now sit atop the NL East by a whopping nine, count ‘em nine, games ahead of the second place Washington Nationals and have now won four games in a row. The way this team has been playing these past four games has been an absolute wonder to watch and the more they continue to push ahead their lead, the more Braves fans can relax come September.
The Braves and Rockies are back in action tomorrow night–same time, same place. Alex Wood will be vying for his first win as a big leaguer and he will be squaring off against the Rockies’ Juan Nicasio.