Atlanta 9 Houston 3

ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Astros at Braves

John Thomson got in trouble to start the game, allowing a single and a double leading off the game, which turned into two runs. He recovered from that and allowed but one more hit (a solo homer) the rest of the way, striking out five and walking none on his way to the Braves’ first complete game of the year and his first with the club.

The Braves bounced back immediately from the two in the first with four in the bottom of the inning, getting four straight hits to lead off, capped by LaRoche’s three-run homer to center. It was his only hit of the game, though he did drive in one more run. A key was the middle infield/top of the order, which had been slumping. Furcal went 2-4 with a walk, scored twice, and drove in a run. Giles was 2-3 with two walks and scored twice. All the starters reached base and only Estrada didn’t have a hit. Andruw had the day off with a sore back. Langerhans played center and had a double.

Thomson’s accomplishment is slightly lessened by the Astros’ starting lineup which still lacks Lance Berkman and also now Jeff Bagwell, out with a shoulder problem. To give you some idea, Jose Vizcaino started at first and hit third. AAA lineup.

The Marlins were idle, so the Braves are in first place for now. Tomorrow another big matchup, Oswalt and Smoltz on TBS.

12 thoughts on “Atlanta 9 Houston 3”

  1. Kudos to Thomson for coming back after a rough beginning. He doesn’t get a lot of notice, but it’s instructive to note that this was a battle of fourth starters. Ours is John Thomson. The Astros’ was Brandon Backe.

    Here’s my subjective list of other NL 4th starters:

    Al Leiter
    Tomo Ohka
    Victor Zambrano
    Cory Lidle
    Jeff Suppan
    Victor Santos
    Greg Maddux
    Josh Fogg
    Ramon Ortiz
    Brad Penny
    Shawn Estes
    Jerome Williams
    Brian Lawrence
    Jeff Francis

    Thomson looks pretty good in this list.

  2. Comparing Thomson to other fourth starters is faulty. He should be compared to all other starters, not just “fourth” starters.

  3. I think that’s instructive, actually. An indication of depth, at the very least. The Yanks 4th and 5th (at the moment) are AAA pitchers.

  4. It depends on what your looking at. If your trying to guage the strength of our staff as a whole and it’s depth than comparing him to other fourth starters shows just how strong we are.

  5. Calling the Houston lineup AAA might be a bit much. They got a lot of young guys, but they can still hit.

  6. comparing him to other fourth starters shows just how strong we are.

    Yep, that was the point.

  7. All Stars? I think we have three or four guys who should be considered to make the team.

    Hudson, Hampton, Chipper, and maybe Smoltz, possibly Thompson if he pitches like he did tonight. LaRoach is starting to hit too.

  8. Thomson was fantastic last night. Thomson made two mistakes and each time it led to runs. It’s unfortunate that the three Astro hits so efficiently produced runs.

    LaRoche won’t be an all-star, but I agree with your other picks. Smoltz and Thomson are possibilities if they continue their form. I don’t think they’ll allow Braves 1-4 starters to all be on the team, but I’m not aware of any precedent. Smoltz is only out right now because of his record (because of low run support).

    I would honestly take Thomson over any of the other fourth starters listed.

  9. I think it’s a valid comparison. I think one of the Braves’ biggest strengths in the early to mid-90s was the depth of the starting rotation. It never matches up perfectly, but if you’ve got a guy like Neagle going against a AAAA guy, Neagle’s probably going to win 20 games (hey, he did win 20 games!).

    When you’ve got steady guys like Liebrandt, or in this case Thomson, at the bottom of the rotation, there just isn’t a day off for the other guys. It matters.

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