Although Jason Marquis was originally scheduled to pitch tonight, the Reds turned to a guy they said they would be thrilled to get five innings out of. They ended up getting five no-hit innings out of him and then three more solid ones, which excited everyone on the Cincinnati roster with the exception of Marquis, who must realize that with this year being officially declared Ex-Braves-beat-up-on-the current-Braves, he just missed his chance to throw the first perfect game of his career.
The Braves did finally register a hit in the 6th inning, when Eric Young Jr. pinch hit for the struggling Eric Stults and hit a single Billy Hamilton almost caught, but ended up trapping. Nick Markakis followed with a walk—his second on the night—but harmless fly outs to each field got
Cy Young Raisel Iglesias out of the inning unscathed.
Of course, having the offense treat Great American Ballpark like it was Petco Park doesn’t really matter when the starting pitcher was not fooling anyone and was fortunate to get through five innings having only surrendered five runs on six hits. That’s a sizable deficit for even a good offense to overcome.
Williams Perez relieved Stults and recorded two scoreless innings, surrendering a couple of hits and a walk in the process. Trevor Cahill pitched the 8th and nearly surrendered a two-run home run, but he managed to keep the Reds off the board and lower his ERA to 8.15. I would say that at least this game gave the good relievers a chance to rest the day before an off day, but then I remembered the dumpster fire that is the Braves bullpen, so I ask that commentary be struck from the record.
Pedro Ciriaco, who has done nothing but hit the ball since he was called up, pinch hit for Perez in the 8th and hit a triple Jay Bruce kicked around in right field, and Markakis drove him in with a groundout to second base to ensure the Braves were not shut out.
Iglesias went 8 innings, giving up one run on two hits and throwing 103 pitches in his second major league start. While that is pretty impressive, it does come with the caveat that IWOTB.
The Braves bench provided the whole of the offense, which means the Braves starters managed to have an 0-for-27 night in one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in the league. With how the series had been going for the team, you could say a good thing that came from all of this is they only left four men on base tonight. I suppose there’s more than one way of finding a solution to the problem of leaving runners on every inning.
Of some concern, Kelly Johnson left the game with an 0-2 count during his first at-bat, and he has been diagnosed with a strained oblique. You hate to lose him when he’s in a hot streak, because when he’s cold he’s pretty brutal to watch so you want to see him ride the hot streak while he can. With a strained oblique, though, he may miss some time.
The Braves fall to 1-5 on this road trip, and travel to Florida for a weekend series in Miami. In that series, we can look forward to watching Martin Prado raise his batting average fifty points and drive in 10 runs, but at least we are assured the Braves will be spared the ignominy of having Jarrod Saltalamacchia resurrect his career by recording 15 straight hits, culminating in a walkoff grand slam.