(YAWN.) Another day, another win, another save for John Smoltz. The Braves took it 4-3 even with Smoltz giving up a run, and are guaranteed at least a split in the series (with two games to go). The most remarkable thing about this game was that a starting pitcher, Kevin Millwood, actually got a win. The Braves got a two-run double from Sheffield and a two-run homer from (who else?) Keith Lockhart. Lockhart is up to .227 for the season now. I know it won’t last, but right now he’s really hitting. Andruw Jones, on the other hand, heads to the All-Star Game in a deep slump. For the first time in a long time, he looked lost at the plate today, swinging at several of those low-outside sliders he falls victim to when he’s struggling.
The Cubs fired their manager after yesterday’s game, firing Don Baylor, the former Braves hitting coach. Bruce Kimm will take his place but wasn’t available and Rene Lachemann filled in. Everything I heard said that Baylor would make it to the Break, but apparently last night’s game (where the Cubs, other than pitcher Mark Prior, looked nothing like a major league team) was the last straw. It won’t help Kimm any being without Sammy Sosa, who is back in Chicago with a family problem and probably won’t play the rest of the series.
Tom Glavine hopes to start tomorrow, after leaving his last two outings with that blister problem. The Braves probably hope that he can go a long way to preserve the bullpen, but really they’re overstating the problem. With seven relievers, three innings a night won’t overwork a bullpen. What I hope is that the offense can come through with enough runs off of Carlos Zambrano that Smoltz and Remlinger can get some rest. Nobody else has really been used that hard, but both have pitched in each of the last two games and John has pitched in six of the last eight (getting a win and five saves). If Tommy can give the Braves six innings and they have enough of a lead to rely upon Hammond, Ligtenberg, and Spooneybarger to finish it, that should be enough.