A day after being eliminated from the NL East division title race, the Atlanta Braves treated Tuesday's game like Spring Training and rested the majority of their starters. Pittsburgh put up 3 runs in the fifth inning as the Braves fall, 5-1.
Tommy Hanson, who has been a disappointment this season, and isn't a lock for the playoff roster, took the mound for the Braves. Hanson went six innings, struck out six, but allowed nine hits and 5 ER's, including a monster home run from Pirates first baseman Garrett Jones. Tommy had this to say about his performance:
"It's not the way I wanted to finish – but it is what it is," Hanson said. "It kind of got away from me at times and I've got to make adjustments and get better. My fastball command was there at times and then I lost it."
Last night's performance all but closes the door on a frustrating season for the once highly regarded Tommy Hanson. He'll finish the season with a 13-10 record, and a 4.48 earned run average, and probably hasn't shown enough to earn a spot on the post-season roster.
The loss isn't completely on the shoulders of Tommy Hanson, as the Braves fielded a team that many casual Braves fans wouldn't be able to identify. Michael Bourn (CF), Andrelton Simmons (SS), and David Ross (C) were the only regulars that started the game, but Fredi took advantage of the meaningless game to get some of his bench players some at-bats. Opening day starting shortstop, Tyler Pastornicky, started at 2B before sliding over to SS to replace Simmons after the sixth, going 1-4. Super utility player Jeff Baker, replaced him at 2B after starting in RF.
Fredi's plan all along was to rest his regulars if the Braves didn't have a chance at winning the division. The Braves skipper had this to say:
"It was good to get (reserves) at-bats to keep them sharp," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We're going to have a lot more position players on the roster for Friday's game than the other rounds so I feel it's important that we get them at bats."
Christian Martinez pitched a scoreless 7th, and Durban followed it up with two strikeout inning in the 8th for the Braves.
The home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, PNC Park, was packed with a majority of Braves fans there hoping to get a glimpse of retiring third baseman Chipper Jones. While Jones didn't play, he was in attendance and delivered the pregame lineup card at home plate before the game.
The Braves will finish the regular season against the Pirates on Wednesday. Ben Sheets, who seemed to resurrect his career mid-season with the Braves, will be on the mound for his final regular season game. Sheets announced Tuesday that this would be his final start in the major leagues and will retire when the season ends.
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