The Braves opened up the second half of the 2010 season last night with a 2-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers to begin a four game series. The win, coupled with Mets and Phillies losses, pushed Atlanta to 5 games up in the NL East. The game wasn't on television in Upstate, NY...BUT, I was able to watch it online thanks to MLB.tv. The service is currently offering a 'reward' (read: promotion) for those who cast a ballot in the All-Star Game Final Vote. Voters have the chance to sign-up for a free 10-day (July 10-20) trial of MLB.tv's Premium online service. Hooking up the laptop to the TV meant I could watch a semi-decent HD quality Peachtree TV broadcast of the game. Good enough for me.
I've thought about buying a subscription to MLB.tv for the past couple years now, but haven't been able to pull the trigger on the $100+ per year service. The basic package runs for $99.95 while the Premium version will set you back $119.95. Both allow you to watch any MLB game online (blackout rules still apply). Last night's broadcast had a handful of problems (whether it was MLB.tv or Peachtree's fault) between video freezing/cutting out and low volume/loud static. I'd have a hard time paying that kind of money if that's something that could be a commonality. I wonder (hope?) if MLB has thought about offering a reduced price for access to specific team's games. I could imagine spending $50-$60 to watch only the Braves online instead of effectively paying to also watch an Orioles vs. Blue Jays game in mid-July. That's not exactly exciting baseball right now.
The game was certainly an enjoyable one as newly acquired Alex Gonzalez made his Braves debut and Jason Heyward returned from a multi-week stint on the DL. Jair Jurrjens also made his third start since coming off his own trip to the DL, going 6.2 innings while allowing only one run off a first-inning Corey Hart homer to right. Jurrjens has pitched well with his healed hamstring, allowing just 5 ER in 17.2 IP (2.55 ERA). Heyward went 0-4, K in his return, but made up for his lack of offense with two great defensive plays. J-Hey gunned down Casey McGehee in the second as he tried to go first-to-third on a Jim Edmonds single and then again robbed McGehee with a running grab at the wall in the right field corner in the fourth. Heyward hit the wall and fell to the ground immediately following the catch, but managed to get back up and finish the game after a visit from the trainer and Bobby Cox. Martin Prado and Chipper Jones each had solo blasts (11th and 7th, respectively) to pace the offense as Alex Gonzalez received a warm Atlanta welcome with a fourth-inning lead-off double.
Tommy Hanson (8-5, 4.13) will be going against Randy Wolf (6-8, 4.56) tonight for a 7:35pm start at Turner Field.