Four days shy of two years since his last pitch in Major League Baseball, Ben Sheets gave the Braves just what they what they needed- six innings of shutdown ball. Sheets was on a pitch count of 80-100, and left the game at 88 pitches, 0 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk, and 5 strike outs. With a little help from his new friends, Sheets was given six runs in the bottom of the fifth before Juan Francisco pinch hit for his spot in the order in the sixth.
Atlanta got production from the old faithfuls in Bourn, Prado, Jones, Heyward, and Freeman and a key walk from newbie Paul Janish. In true Braves fashion the majority of runs were scored with two outs. Those runs came just in time considering Kris Medlen gave up a run in the top of the seventh.
While the outing was impressive, it was not the Ben Sheets one would recognize. The right hander with high 90s overpowering pitches was reinvented as a low 90s fastballs and lots of breaking stuff. There is something to be said for an athlete’s talent and intestinal fortitude to be able to depart from what made you successful the first time around, make it back, and most important to the Braves, win. It is only one outing, but it is a great start for Sheets and the Braves second half with a sweep of the Mets.