ESPN Box  Score

What’s the opposite of a “murderer’s row”? “Murdered row”? “Traffic violator’s row”? By example, I would simply go with, “the group of pitchers the Nat’s used in today’s game”. Nate Karns, Zach Duke, Eric Davis, and Fernando Abad combined to look pretty mediocre in surrendering six runs to the Braves over 8 innings. Paul Maholm, meanwhile, looked like he could be in for a pretty poor outing. He wasn’t hitting his spots very well, and he was having trouble retiring anyone. But after surrendering two in the second (good defense holds it to one), he seemed to get it together and coasted the rest of the way, allowing only a solo HR. Anthony Varvaro and Luis Avilan cleaned up before Craig Kimbrel pitched a K-less 9th. All in all, a pretty good experience for Braves fans.

Atlanta’s first two runs came on a Ramiro Pena HR, and that was because he was in the lineup playing 3B for Chris Johnson against a righty. I like this move. Pena does most of his damage against RHP, so giving him some spot starts against righties in a not-quite-a-platoon-but-kinda-a-platoon arrangement is a good way to maximize offensive and defensive output while keeping all your bench guys engaged.

The other interesting thing today was BJ Upton‘s solo shot, coming on the heels of a 2-4 Saturday. If BJ hadn’t followed it up with three straight outs, I’d be more excited, but at this point, anything that looks like it might be progress is encouraging. And speaking of Uptons, Justin Upton had three hits today, which was really nice to see. He’s been struggling an awful lot lately (a sympathy slump for solidarity with his brother?), and I don’t think I’m out too far on a limb to say that if all three of Atlanta’s starting OFs are struggling, this team probably won’t go far.

So after the strum and drangsturm und drang of Friday’s loss, Atlanta wins the series and has a 6.5 game lead. Not a bad way to start June.