Jair Jurrjens Returns with Stellar Outing as Braves Sweep Double-Header

Chris WilkesContributor IIApril 16, 2011

ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 09:  Starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens #49 of the Atlanta Braves against the St. Louis Cardinals at Turner Field on September 9, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

One of the biggest questions surrounding the Atlanta Braves was the status of starter Jair Jurrjens.

After an impressive 2011 debut, Atlanta fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Although the young righty was absent for much of the Atlanta playoff run last season, he was seen as a crucial part of the Braves starting staff.

Jurrjens, who spent the first two weeks of the season on the DL with a strained oblique, was looking like a possible concern. Without Jurrjens, the Braves lineup seemed suspect past the third starter. 

For those who doubted, Jurrjens quickly proved his worth. Allowing only two hits over a seven-inning start, Jurrjens led Atlanta to their second victory of the day in a much-needed series against the struggling Mets.

The Braves provided decent run support, which has been at a premium early on in the season.

Braves hitters pummeled Mets starter Mike Pelfrey for 11 hits over just five innings; Eric Hinske especially helped the cause with a three-hit night.

The combination of quality pitching and effective hitting looks to be the key to Atlanta's success. In order to compete with the powerhouse Phillies, the Braves depend on quality starts similar to Saturday night's gem by Jurrjens, along with clutch hitting up and down the lineup.

With an early finale Sunday, the Braves look to capitalize on the momentum of the double-header sweep with a series sweep before setting off on a west-coast road trip.

Stability in the rotation couldn't have come at a better time for Atlanta, who's on the verge of facing the powerful arms in San Francisco and Los Angeles.