The man has a bona fide big league win. Sean Newcomb started his fourth major league game and continued to look like he belongs up there. He lasted 6+ innings, gave up 3 hits, struck out 8, and walked only 1. It was only the Padres, but considering his alarming walk rate was a knock against him in the minors, you’ll take one walk against any team as a positive. Newcomb’s ERA after four starts now stands at 1.48, and as Peanut pointed out, he’s the first Atlanta Brave ever to start his career with four consecutive quality starts. That means pretty much nothing, but it’s fun nonetheless to watch him achieve some success at the major league level in his first few games. In our fast-paced, always-looking-to-the-future world, some people like to offer the sage advice to take time to smell the flowers. I think it more wise to say take time to enjoy rookie success when they start off on a roll. Sure, Newcomb will take his lumps in the future, but that shouldn’t lessen our enjoyment of what he’s doing now. Of course, I’m also allergic to most flowers and suffer from no baseball-related allergies, so that might be why I find the second proverb to be better advice.
The Braves offense pushed a few runs across the plate, enough to do the job while the pitching shut the Padres out. Johan Camargo doubled in the 4th to score two, and Nick Markakis put up an insurance run in the 8th with a sac fly to center. You like to see a few more insurance runs tacked on before Jim Johnson comes into any game (hey, if it’s not a save situation, he can’t blow a save), but he managed to get through a scoreless frame in the 9th, allowing a walk and single between three strikeouts. I think it goes against his religion to have a 1-2-3 inning.
The Braves continue to roll along, and with a win in the first game of this series, they have a chance to keep their streak of winning series alive, even with Bartolo Colon toeing the rubber for Game 2. The team now sits at a mere two games under .500, 1 1/2 games in front of the Marlins and 3 games up on the Mets. I don’t even know what happened to the Phillies this year. The Nationals are only 8.5 games ahead of the Braves at the moment. If they don’t win this division by at least a double digit lead, they should be ashamed of themselves. Or at least utterly embarrassed.