While many sports fans in the Atlanta area kept at least one eye on the game going on in Philips Arena, there was another game going on in the city at the ballpark that turned out to be a good one. That is, naturally, what we expected with the hometown heroes throwing rookies making their first big league start (in the only one-game doubleheader in history) and entering the game with a combined 15.00+ ERA out of the bullpen.

Williams Perez, both of them, may have a flair of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in them and turn out to be aptly named. In their first appearance out of the bullpen this season, Hyde reached the mound first, but Jekyll won out for their second, two scoreless innings, appearance. Tonight, Hyde once again made a quick exit out of the gate and made an appearance in the first inning, but they managed to limit the damage to a single Rays run on a sacrifice fly.

After that the Williamses settled down for a couple of innings, and wiggled out of trouble in both the 4th and 5th to keep the Rays off the board. In the 4th they got a beautiful 3-6-1 double play to get out of a two-on, one-out situation, and in the 5th they struck out the side to strand two on base. Apparently, league rules allow both Jekyll and Hyde to be on the mound at the same time, and sometimes they even swap roles between pitches. The current arrangement keeps opposing hitters constantly guessing, which may work to the Braves advantage. When Jekyll is out there his stuff looks pretty darn good, and his effort tonight is certainly to be applauded.

The Braves offense managed to score just enough runs to squeeze a victory out of tonight and split the series. In the third, Andrelton Simmons doubled to lead off the inning and tied the game on an Alberto Callaspo single with two outs in the inning. Freddie Freeman then struck out with runners on the corners to end that threat and keep the Braves starting pitchers from earning the win. Freeman redeemed himself in the 6th when he doubled and moved to third on a Nick Markakis single. Todd Cunningham, who shockingly went hitless on the night, nevertheless managed to contribute to the win with a chopper to short to score Freeman.

That was all the Braves would get, but that was all that they needed. After Perez exited the game, Luis Avilan, Brandon Cunniff, Jim Johnson, and Jason Grilli combined to mystify the Rays hitters and preserve the win. The extreme Jekyll/Hyde tendencies the Braves bullpen has shown this year probably made Perez feel very at home down there.

Early in the game, during a discussion on the Astros being 1st in the American League in homers and 1st in strikeouts, while holding a 6 game lead in the west, Tom Glavine commented, “€œwell, strikeouts don’€™t matter.” An awkward silence followed, during which I imagine Chip and Joe were scrambling madly to hand Glavine an autographed, hardback copy of The Official 2015 Braves Season Talking Points (written by The Three Johns with a special foreword by Bobby Cox) that they keep within arm’s reach for every broadcast. For the rest of the broadcast, you could almost hear Glavine muttering in Orwellian style, “home runs bad, small ball good…”

In addition to Glavine, the broadcast hosted other former Braves tonight, too. Javy Lopez joined them for an inning on his bobblehead night, and looked as though he could have switched places with A. J. Pierzynski without any problem. Chris Hammond, whom I had forgotten even existed, also appeared for a half inning. His presence sent me on a trip down memory lane, to that incredible 2002 Braves bullpen and Hammond’s own remarkable story of being out of pro ball for four years before coming back and posting a 0.95 ERA over 76 innings in his age 36 season. Braves fans were so spoiled that year. What a bullpen that was.

Tomorrow’s Thursday and the Braves are, amazingly, actually NOT off. They welcome the Brewers to town, and Julio Teheran will face off against Matt Garza to kick off a four-game set between the clubs.