MLB Insiders - Atlanta Braves
Ian Snell
Ian Snell

Posted May 9, 2008


The Pirates open a four game series with the Atlanta Braves at PNC Park on Friday night. Right-hander Ian Snell will pitch for the Bucs. The Braves will toss veteran lefty Tom Glavine.

The Braves hope Tom Glavine can help them avoid a fifth consecutive road loss by finally getting his first win of the season Friday night when they open a four-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Atlanta has lost its last four road games, getting held to 11 runs, to fall to 4-11 away from home. No team in the majors has fewer road wins.

Glavine (0-1, 4.50 ERA), though, has been solid on the road. Excluding a start at Washington on April 13 when he left with a strained hamstring after failing to record an out, Glavine has allowed two runs and nine hits in 12 1-3 innings away from home.

Glavine is 4-0 with a 2.67 ERA in nine starts against the Pirates (15-19) since losing to them on Sept. 3, 2002. He held Pittsburgh to two runs in five innings of Atlanta's 12-11, 12-inning loss on March 31, as the Braves went on to drop two of three in the series.

Glavine's opponent in that game was Ian Snell (2-2, 5.09), who allowed four runs in six innings, and they will square off again Friday.

The Pirates won each of Snell's first three starts - he went 2-0 with a 3.93 ERA - but the right-hander has since gone 0-2 with a 6.04 ERA. He allowed four runs and 10 hits in six innings of a 5-2 loss at Washington on Sunday.

Chipper Jones is a postgame fixture lately, perched on a picnic table in the middle of the Braves clubhouse answering questions about how long he can keep up his .400-plus batting average.

But after Tuesday's game against the Padres, he was every bit as happy to talk about the performance of Jair Jurrjens, who claimed his fourth win of the season despite the fact that he didn't have his fastball going for him.

"He's been tremendous this year," Jones said, emphasizing the word. "Words can't describe how good he's been and how solid and consistent.

"You would expect a young kid to go out and maybe have two or three good starts and then throw up a four-inning, six-run gig. And he's been solid right through, giving us six, seven innings every time out. And that's something that's desperately needed. Especially with some of the struggles we've had with our starters."

Jurrjens stuck with his game plan Tuesday even without the fastball, figuring he'd try to keep the game as close as he could -- and eat up innings at the very least.

"My control wasn't like I wanted it at the beginning of the game," he said. "But at least it was low. I was lucky enough to be able to throw my changeup for strikes and get some groundballs and pop flies."

"Nothing rattles JJ," said his duly impressed manager, Bobby Cox. "For his first full year in the big leagues, he's got great mound presence and carries himself extremely well."

BRAVES 5, PADRES 4: The Braves finally won a one-run game after nine defeats in nail-biters this season. Only Atlanta's final run, the one that crossed the plate in the bottom of the ninth, was earned. Jo-Jo Reyes started but had to leave in the third because he was developing a blister. Replacement Buddy Carlyle had to leave two innings later when a collision with the Padres' Kevin Kouzmanoff caused him to strain a muscle in his neck.

--INF Omar Infante was activated from the 15-day disabled list, where he has been since spring training while rehabbing a broken left hand suffered in winter ball. Infante arrived in the clubhouse at 11:43 a.m. for the 1:10 p.m. game against the Padres knowing he was in the starting lineup at second base. His gear was in Class AAA Richmond, where he had been on a rehab assignment, so he borrowed INF Martin Prado's glove for the game.

--C/INF/OF Brayan Pena was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 5, with a mid-back strain. Manager Bobby Cox said following Wednesday's game that Pena hadn't been able to swing a bat or do much else for three days.

--LHP Jo-Jo Reyes was forced to leave Thursday's start in the third inning because he was developing a blister on his left index finger. He doesn't expect to miss a start.

--RHP Buddy Carlyle was forced to leave Thursday's game in the fifth inning after straining a muscle in the left side of his neck tagging out Padres 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff. Carlyle is day-to-day.

--RHP Tim Hudson is now 4-0 with a 1.88 ERA at Turner Field.

BY THE NUMBERS: 0-9 -- The Braves' record in one-run games in April.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I've always been a gunshot away from the glue factory." -- RHP John Smoltz, on the number of times observers believed his career might be over.


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