– MLB – Recap – Cardinals at Braves – 08/02/2002

See what happens when you bench Vinny Castilla? Wes Helms started at third base and hit a first-inning grand slam, and the Braves scored nine runs in the first two innings. If they’re going to get runs early and then hang on, holding a 9-1 lead after two is a lot more comfortable. Tom Glavine only went five — there was a rain delay — but was generally sharp, and got his fourteenth win.

Every Braves starting position player reached base, all but Lockhart via a hit. Chipper Jones had another big game, three hits and a walk, one of the hits a three-run homer that moved him past Joe Adcock into fourth place on the franchise’s all-time list. If he really has found his power stroke — he’s hit three homers in the last six games — then the Braves are in a lot better shape. And maybe Helms will get more playing time at third, which not only would keep Vinny on the bench, it would keep at least one Franco in the lineup.

As said below, Javy Lopez went on the disabled list and Steve Torrealba was called up to back up Henry Blanco. Torrealba isn’t much of a hitter, and the Braves’ catching situation continues its years-long decline. At this rate, the Braves’ starting catcher in 2005 will be a hamster.