Tommy Hanson didn’t exactly impress in his first outing, but the Braves rallied behind their bullpen and Chipper to win the game anyway. Hanson cruised though the order the first time through, including striking out the side in the second. But in the fourth, after an error by Yunel, he gave up a two-run homer to Braun. In the fifth, he allowed a run-scoring double by the pitcher. In the sixth, he got massacred, allowing a pair of two-run homers, one by Braun and one by Cameron. You can see why he’s such a hot prospect, because he has great stuff, but he threw a few too many meatballs ahead in the count. I’d rather see that than the nibbling a lot of other prospects do.
Chipper was huge. In the first, he tripled in Yunel, though Diaz couldn’t get him home. In the third, he hit a solo homer to make it 2-0. Having fallen behind 3-2, Chipper hit a three-run homer in the fifth to make it 5-3. He singled in the seventh, but was stranded because Francoeur sucks. Finally, someone else did something. Typically, it was McCann, who didn’t start, but hit a pinch-double with one out to score Prado. McLouth, in the leadoff spot, doubled McCann home to tie the game, and Yunel singled him home to make it 8-7. Chipper, unsurpringly, was walked, and Diaz couldn’t get a hit to get some insurance.
The bullpen did its job. Bennett gave up a one-out triple in the seventh, but pitched around it. O’Flaherty got the win by pitching a scoreless eighth, helped by a caught stealing. Gonzalez got the benefit of a great double play turned by Prado at first and Yunel at short to get the save, despite his usual command issues.
To make room for Hanson, Kotchman went on the DL with his lingering leg problem. I assume Hanson will stay up, and that Prado will play first full-time. I don’t like it, and I think they should give Canizares a shot, but they really don’t like his defense.