A happy note on a somber day… The Braves won the opener of a twi-night double header, 8-5. Kevin Millwood didn’t pitch especially well. He gave up only one run, but allowed ten baserunners (seven on hits) in 5 2/3 innings and had to be bailed out in the sixth by the Amazing Chris Hammond, whose ERA after a perfect inning and a third is now 1.02. It was Kevin’s 17th win, and his eighth in a row. He should have three starts remaining.
For the second straight game, the Braves had a player homer twice, this time Chipper Jones. Mark DeRosa, playing second, homered for the second game in a row, had two other hits, and scored four runs. The Braves led 8-2 entering the ninth, but Kevin Gryboski didn’t have it and gave up three runs. John Smoltz pitched a third of an inning to save it; he probably won’t get the major league save record, but did post his 50th of the season and should get the NL record if Eric Gagne doesn’t.
The night game could be interesting. The players who can safely be called regulars (the outfielders, Vinny, and Furcal, plus Blanco) all played. With Javy on the shelf (though he did pinch-hit today), Steve Torrealba will probably have another chance to demonstrate the skills that got him to the major leagues. I’ll let you know if I see any sign of them. Darren Bragg will probably play, and I guess Julio will play Matt in the rotating Francos arrangement. And I suppose Lockhart will as well. If Marcus is still hurt that could keep Vinny (who was 1-4 and raised his average to .226) in the lineup, but I hear Wes Helms has been activated and I think he might play instead.