Rookie James Parr has pitched 12 scoreless innings for the Braves in his first week in the majors, six innings each in starts Sept. 4 and Wednesday. That qualifies as a small miracle this season.
No one is handing the Cy Young Award to him yet, but the kind of praise he is garnering from manager Bobby Cox and third baseman Chipper Jones is telling. It isn't the usual praise -- not that Jones indulges in that.
"I just like him because he throws his fastball, he works fast and he comes right at you," Jones says. "And we like pitchers like that."
Cox, who rarely goes into specifics, offered this after Wednesday's start, when Parr did not get the win after the bullpen blew his lead.
"He knows how to run the ball up on hitters," Cox said, "and can make them chase that. He gets a lot of popups and some swings and misses. He's got a slider, a curveball and a changeup he's got a pretty good feel and touch with.
"He's an interesting kid. I like how he handles his business. He looks comfortable and looks good on the mound."
Parr, for his part, while wishing he could have gotten the win Wednesday, was pleased that the team ended up on top. And he felt much more comfortable overall the second time out, partly because he had more notice than he had before his first start. The last time, he was told on the plane coming back from Miami after the Marlins series that he was starting the next night.
This time, "My command was there," he said. "I didn't walk anybody. Stayed ahead most of the time. It's still going to be a little bit of an adjustment with my breaking pitches; the major
league baseball is a little bit different than a minor league baseball. I need my breaking stuff to really be sharp."
He's not planning to work too much on changing his breaking stuff right now, though, because it's late in the year and he doesn't want
to throw too many pitches. "I'm trying," he said, "to save what I've got."
BRAVES 8, ROCKIES 4: Jair Jurrjens had a career-high 10 strikeouts, and Yunel Escobar went 3-for-3 with a three-run homer to cement the win.
--3B Chipper Jones went 1-for-4 with a double and a walk and has reached base safely in 37 consecutive games, the third-longest streak in the majors this season behind the Red Sox's Kevin Youkilis with 44 and the Cardinals' Albert Pujols with 42.
--RHP John Smoltz has been cleared by Dr. James Andrews to take the next steps in his rehab from shoulder surgery following a checkup
in Birmingham, Ala., on Wednesday. Some of the program will involve abbreviated throwing motions.
--CF/LF Gregor Blanco went 2-for-4 and stole his team-leading 13th base.
--RF Jeff Francoeur left the bases loaded twice and stranded eight runners overall in four at-bats.
--RHP Jair Jurrjens struck out a career-high 10 batters through six innings, but he required 106 pitches.
BY THE NUMBERS: .432 -- INF Martin Prado's major league-leading August batting average (minimum 50 plate appearances).
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I couldn't look myself in the face, trying to kill a pitcher." -- Manager Bobby Cox, explaining why he would not use his overworked relievers for two innings on consecutive days.
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