MONTREAL 10, ATLANTA 2 – MLB – Recap – Expos at Braves – 03/31/2003

Ugh, that was awful.

Greg Maddux gave up four runs in the first and the Braves never recovered. Maddux pitched well enough after that, giving up only an unearned run. But the bullpen managed to give up five in the last two innings, which pretty much ended any chance at a comeback. Ray King threw 11 pitches, eight of them balls, to two batters; Roberto Hernandez walked two more and allowed two hits relieving him; and Jung Bong allowed three runs in the ninth to make the score really ugly. These are supposed to be the good middle relievers, mind you. I miss Remlinger already.

I have to “watch” these day games on Gamecast for the most part. So rather than being a couple times removed from the Braves’ decision making, I’m more like three or four times, and “What the heck was he thinking?” moments pop up even more often. In this case, the game more or less ended in the seventh inning. The Braves were trailing 5-1, but the Expos’ starter Tony Armas was out of the game. Javy Lopez (pinch-hitting for Blanco) singled and Matt Franco walked. The Expos brought in a new reliever, and Rafael Furcal singled… And with one out and the best hitters on the team coming up, Javy Lopez, the slowest man on the team, tried to score from second on a single to center. He was out, Fick (hitting second, for reasons only known to Bobby) grounded out… and the Expos got three runs in the next inning to put the game away. And Sheffield walked and Chipper singled to lead off the eighth, Sheffield later scoring. Just boneheaded baseball. Down four runs that late, the value of an individual run is pretty low versus the risk of an out.

You can blame that one on the new third base coach or the baserunner, but the other “What the heck is he thinking?” moment is squarely on Bobby’s head. With two out in the eighth and two runs already in, runners on first and second, Bobby had Hernandez intentionally walk Jose Vidro to load the bases. Hernandez promptly walked Ron Calloway to make it 8-1.

Tomorrow is an off-day thanks to this goofy Opening Week schedule. Horacio Ramirez will make his Major League debut Wednesday against the Expos’ Tomo Ohka.

10 thoughts on “MONTREAL 10, ATLANTA 2”

  1. On the plus side, Vinny got a hit! On the down side, that means he’s filled his hit quota for the week.

  2. Vinny also had an error. One throw that wasn’t so chest-high.

    And Bobby’s got many failings, but few drive me nuts quite like the intentional walk to load the bases. Ugh.

  3. Is Ramirez the #2 starter now? I know it doesn’t really make any differance but I figured Ortiz would pitch the second game of the season.

    Also, I though Juan Bong looked pretty good (except for the two runs he gave up, of course). He was mixing a 92mph heater with some kind of mid-70’s off-spead pitch. Unfortunately King, the only other lefty in the pin, seemed to bring some Milwauke suckage with him.

  4. Colin, you’ve now made me flash back to 1996, the intentional walk to Bernie Williams (with runners on 1st and 2nd!) to bring up Wade Boggs. I can still see Steve Avery miss, walking in the winning run to even the Series at 2-2. Thanks alot. I had finally gotten over the nightmares.

  5. I think Ramirez was pushed up into Hampton’s spot to get Ortiz the full amount of rest. Ortiz will stay in the #3 spot, not that it matters a whole lot, but he’s really the #2 guy.

  6. bamadan – to this day, no braves game quite haunts me like that one. The ump in Jermaine Dye’s way, Neagle imploding, Belliard bobbling the double play ball right before Leyritz hit the homer. And yes, Cox not just walking the bases loaded, but walking them loaded knowing that Wade Boggs would be the next batter. A walk machine who drew a walk. Plus the error by Klesko to follow for good measure (though I neve held that against him, as he had gotten in only two games at 1B all year – fewer than either Tyler Houston or Eddie Perez!).

  7. Mac, you know darn well why Fick batted second. He plays first base. DUH!

    Real emphasis on spell checking with the off season acquisitions….

  8. Okay, this infernal first week schedule is driving me nuts. MLB started back Sunday and we’ve had only oneBraves game. Bring it on!


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