The Padres didn't stand a chance when Tim Hudson took the mound. Nor did they stand a chance when the Braves unloaded on them for 6 runs. At the end of the game, the Braves got a shutout win, AND the Nats lost. So we pull closer to 4.5 back in the race, and we still have 2 games left on the series. Our 1-4 hitters opened up the game and created most of the offense. Uggla and Prado both had homers, and Freeman and Chipper both had RBIs.
Tim Hudson gets the MVP for his performance last night. He went 6.1 innings with only 2 hits and a walk. Thing is, and he said this himself, he could have gone longer. We just didn't need him to go deep into the game because we had it locked up by the 7th inning. That's how important a solid starting pitcher can be against a team that has no shot. The Padres will fold up their tents if they aren't leading after four innings. They have no reason to fight back. If you can establish early that you are mentally going to win the game, you'll win against crappy teams. It's when you let them score early runs and give them hope, that's where you create problems. So Huddy went out there and established who was the man. The rest is history.
Let's dig a little deeper into the changes from the first game to the second game in our hitting. As I stated before, I was disappointed with our pitch selection at the plate in game one. We weren't working counts at all, and that cost us. In game 2, we still didn't have any walks. HOWEVER, we were doing a much better job at running counts longer before putting action on the ball. In Game 1, our hitters ran the pitch count on Stultz to 100+ in the 8th inning. In game 2, Richard's count was at 100+ in the 7th. At a full inning earlier, the Padres had to go to the pen. On the very next batter, Prado went yard for a 3 run jack. It's important to tire out these Padres starters earlier and get to that pen. Hell, that's important for any team. I'll always want to roll the dice on an opposing teams starter.
The Braves went 3-9 with RISP, crossing over my winning number of .300, and they had a double, triple, and homer in the same game. Heyward and Bourn both bagged steals, which brings Bourn's total up to 31 on the year. That's #1 in the NL for all players, folks. We have the fastest base robber on the field playing for us. Hey Frank Wren? If you don't cut this man a contract deal, I'm going to find you. Venters also looked incredibly sharp last night with his inning of relief in the 7th. It was good to see him look like "the Venters of old" according to Joe Simpson. I would agree that he was getting much more movement on his pitches and made the hitters look silly.
Tonight it's Volquez v. Maholm. Paul Maholm is coming off his 4-0 whitewashing of the Mets where he only gave up 3 hits in a complete game shutout. Volquez is coming off a "win" in Pittsburgh where he gave up 6 runs, 2 homers, 4 walks, and 7 hits in 3.1 innings. In fact, in his last three games, Volquez is sporting an ERA of 11.00, and no you didn't read that wrong. He's given up 11 runs in his last 9 innings across 3 starts. We should light this guy up. I will accept no excuses in this game. Volquez is on tilt and our lineup is going to push him over.