ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Cardinals at Braves – 04/22/2003
Maybe Gary Sheffield really does play better when he’s unhappy. He doubled home two runs in the third, later scored, and then had a solo homer. He’s hitting .347/.440/.653 for the season. Every Brave regular reached base in some fashion; the Braves had only six hits, but drew seven walks, including three by Chipper. Johnny Estrada started behind the plate and had his first hit as a Brave.
Russ Ortiz had a good outing, giving up two runs in 6 1/3. You can’t expect him to go much longer than that, because he throws so many pitches, but he only walked one versus seven strikeouts. Gryboski (how does he do it?) got a double play to get out of the seventh. Hernandez gave up an unearned run when Andruw let a single go through his legs; I’m still not sure how that happened. And Smoltz pitched an inning and a third for the save, striking out three. Pretty good day for the pitchers.
Have you ever noticed how low an angle Rafael Furcal throws from? Most shortstops’ throws to first go up in the air a little and are on their way down when they get to first base. I swear, Rafael’s look like they’re on a straight line… Greg Maddux goes tonight against Matt Morris. It’s on ESPN if you don’t get Sportssouth.
And Mighty Mouse drew two walks, struck out once, and registered a sacrifice fly on a hard hit line drive to right field.
Yeah, Gryboski’s a double play inducing machine. Four of the last five times he’s come into the game he’s bailed another pitcher out with an inning ending double play. The other time there were two outs and he got a ground ball.
I’ve noticed we are skipping Ramirez to get Maddux in there today. What’s the point of that exactly? With Pujols out, the Cards are quite left-handed (Vina, Edmonds, Drew, Tino). And why are we in a hurry to get Maddux back out there anyway? Tonight’s game could get ugly.
I am actually in favor of skipping Ramirez occasionally. He is a young pitcher and I do not want to kill this kids arm early (see Steve Avery). So skipping him to keep the others on 4 days rest makes sense to me. I think Maddox is showing signs of getting it turned around. We will all know in a few hours.
And why are we in a hurry to get Maddux back out there anyway?
Because he’s one of the handful of greatest pitchers in the history of the game, and Ramirez is a guy without much upside who’s been in the big leagues for three weeks. Are those good enough reasons for you?
They don’t actually get to take their career numbers out to the mound with them. They only get to take the stuff they have at this point in their careers. Maddux is struggling to keep his fastball above 85 mph and looks like he would benefit from an extra day off. Ramirez looked fantastic his last time out and matches up real well with the Cards.
So, no, those answers aren’t good enough for me.
And I disagree with both of you. IMHO Ramirez has quite a bit of upside. Here is a young pitcher with good control, command of all three pitches and more than adequate velocity and he is a port sider. This guy could be a very solid #2 or #3 starter in the league for a very long time.
Concerning Maddux has never gotten his fastball up there at much more than 86. He has lost a bit, but I do not think that a fifth day is gonna bring back what age is taking away. He actually looked much better on three days rest last time. His problem has and continues to be location. When he has great control he can get out major league hitters, when he doesn’t he is very hittable by even average major league hitters. It does not appear that his issues are rest related. In fact he might actually benefit from getting back on a very regular 4 day off schedule.
Ok, I am feeling a bit vindicated in supporting the idea of starting Maddux tonight. Have a great day.