Offense? What offense?
Okay, honestly, I can’t complain about a series win against the Rays. I shouldn’t even nitpick. Fredi Gonzalez sent out a Sunday lineup against Tampa Bay, with Chipper out because of that barking ankle, McCann out because it’s a day game after a night game, and Pastornicky out because Tim Hudson‘s a groundball pitcher and Tyler sucks at defense. So our offense may have been slightly worse. Ross is awesome at everything, of course, so he hit a solo homer and caught Ben Zobrist stealing.
Including that homer, Francisco, Ross, and Wilson were the Braves’ 7-8-9 hitters, and they went 2-for-12. The other guys didn’t do much more; a broken-bat RBI single by Jason Heyward produced the only other run the Braves would muster, as stymied by David Price as they were last night by Alex Cobb. But, of course, Price is very good at baseball and it’s no crime to struggle to hit him. Fortunately for us, Hudson was even terrificker.
I promised I wouldn’t complain, but it bears mentioning that Jonny Venters isn’t right. It’s hard to say whether it has more to do with his lack of use this year — this was his first appearance in two days and just his second in the past week — or with his overuse last year, but Venters has had some serious control issues, allowing 5 earned runs and hitting four batters in just 6 1/3 innings this month. Today, he hit two men and only got out of it when a hard-hit grounder by Luke Scott happened to hit Carlos Pena as he was running the bases, causing an automatic out. Hey, we’ll take it.
Tomorrow, Mike Minor will take on the Reds. He may not be pitching for his job, but he’s definitely pitching for my not hating him. Thus far I’m willing to chalk his struggles up to growing pains, bad luck, and a rough patch. If he sucks tomorrow, I will stop defending him.