Braves-Marlins: Atlanta Wins—Unconventionally

Jeff MoodyContributor IMay 7, 2009

WASHINGTON - APRIL 20:  Derek Lowe #32 of the Atlanta Braves pitches against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on April 20, 2009 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Derek Lowe was on the mound, a rookie pitcher was starting for Florida, Garrett Anderson was back in left field; everything seemed perfect for the Braves to stop their current skid and get back on track. 

And they did, but not in Braves fashion. Normally with an ace like Lowe (ground-ball pitcher) you expect the other team to score maybe three runs and then your team can put up four to win a normal baseball game. 

This game was anything but normal. The final score was 8-6 with six earned runs given up by the staff ace. 

By the time Lowe was pulled out in the sixth after allowing the six runs and letting the Marlins crawl back in, Braves manager Bobby Cox was doing his best Buttermaker impersonation by sitting alone in the dugout with the “I might get thrown out just so I don’t have to watch this” face. 

The Braves offense provided eight runs off the "bag of peanuts" Florida is putting in the No. 4 and No. 5 starting rotation spots, so they had enough offense to save Lowe’s day and make him a very lucky 4-1 on the year. 

This offense has struggled lately and finally put together some hits with runners in scoring position. Welcome back Garrett Anderson, who led the team with three RBI and provided the initial spark in the first inning by putting the ball into play so that Omar Infante could score from third. 

Add timely hits and walks in the second and you have enough firepower so that a struggling starting pitcher can give up runs and still get the win. Not to mention a bullpen that shut down the opposition, except for a couple of Buddy Carlyle base runners.

Peter Moylan was efficient. Rafael Soriano was strong. Mike Gonzalez was filthy. IF (big if there) this bullpen can continue to close the door, then the Braves will have a shot in most games. 

Are things changing for the Braves? I hope so. This offensive output could be a sign of good things to come. I may be putting too much into one game, but the Braves have Brian McCann coming back this weekend (newly equipped with Rec Specs) and the lineup will finally settle down. 

Pitching will have its ups and downs, but the bullpen can provide stability for the late innings. 

Here we go. My hopes are up again. Check with me later in the week and I will want to sell all the pieces and play for next year. (Isn’t being a fan great?)