ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Braves at Astros – 05/01/2003
There has been a Mark DeRosa sighting! After “failing” to get a bunt down (for some reason, neither Russ Ortiz, Greg Maddux, nor Mike Hampton was available, thereby forcing the Braves to use a position player off their short bench to bunt) Mark had to swing away. And swing away he did, hitting a two-run homer to break a 6-6 tie in the ninth.
Normally, that would do it, but John Smoltz proved his humanity, finally allowing a run and actually putting runners on the corners with nobody out before getting a popup and a spectacular DP from Furcal to end a wild game.
Needless to say, neither starting pitcher was around for the decision. Shane Reynolds allowed three runs in the first but settled down some after that. The Braves, trailing 3-0 then 4-1, struck for three runs in the fourth. Andruw hit a two-run homer, his first in a couple of weeks, to pull within one, and then Vinny, of all people, singled in Julio Franco to tie it. Gary Sheffield took over from there, singling in Furcal in the fifth to take a lead. When the Astros tied it in the sixth, Gary hit a homer to take the lead in the seventh. Gary finished the game 3-5, needing only the elusive triple for the cycle. The Astros re-tied it, setting the stage for DeRosa’s heroics. The Braves got eleven hits despite getting nothing from two of their best players; Giles and Chipper combined to go 0-8.
Time to play everyone’s favorite game, “What Was Bobby Thinking?”! This is a more complex question than usual, because Bobby was ejected in the second inning so it may be that the thinking in question was Leo Mazzone’s or Pat Corrales’. Anyway… Shane Reynolds had settled down somewhat after his shaky first inning, but he (a) still wasn’t great, (b) had thrown over ninety pitches entering the sixth, and (c) was facing Jeff Kent to lead off, and Kent had raked him for a single and double. In that situation, why didn’t the Braves at least have a reliever ready to go, if not start the inning? Reynolds immediately gave up a double to Kent and a single to Lance Berkman to tie the game. Berkman was out trying to stretch, but that was it for Reynolds.
None of the relievers really shined. Gryboski was hit on the wrist with a line drive to his first batter and was charged with a two-base error on a throw attempt, then left the game with a bruised wrist. Ray King finished the inning, but was lucky to escape unscathed after a single and wild pitch failed to plate the runner. Darren Holmes started the next inning and couldn’t get anyone out, and Roberto Hernandez (who wound up with the win) allowed one of two inherited runners to score, though he was strong in the eighth.
The Braves, currently tied for first with Montreal, two up on Philly, now head west to face the reeling Diamondbacks, who are without Randy Johnson and have Curt Schilling coming off a DL stint.
For the Braves to have so many things go wrong and still get the win says a lot about this team … or maybe it says a lot about the Astros.
You think it’s about time for the “I like this team’s chemistry” articles to start appearing?
I don’t know about this team’s chemistry, but I sure like this team’s healthy Gary Sheffield and playing Marcus Giles.
Anybody else take advantage of the free MLB TV stream on the web to actually watch a Turner South game? It was pretty blocky when I went to full-screen but it’s a pretty cool feature for us fans in exile. I wouldn’t pay money for it, but free is the right price.
DeRo’s homer was great to see, especially since he’s been pretty much worthless so far this year. As far as his failure to bunt, it drove me a lot crazier watching Cox make Giles bunt Furcal over AGAIN earlier in the game.
So, all-star voting online has begun. Everyone make sure to submit your 25 votes for Marcus Giles! 🙂
It really is nice to have the Braves playing so well early. In April 2002, as we know, they ended 12-15. This year, a full five games better.
It’s pretty obvious that a potent offense has been the difference. I kinda feel like last year, if we gave up the lead three times in a game, we wouldnt end up winning it. We always had a chance when Sheff, Chipper, and Andruw were up, but the rest of the lineup was for the most part, useless.
Giles, a healthy and hitting furcal, and fick are the most obvious changes, and it all seems to be really clicking these days. Here’s hoping they can keep it going.
And for some reason, i don’t mind seeing Montreal right up there with the Braves. The division should be a tight race all year long, but i love the idea of Montreal being the top contender rather than Philly or New York. Oh well, a lot of baseball to be played…I just thought i should give the Braves some props for their solid early performance.
I’m with you on this one Troy. Last season the three run first inning from last night would have made me think the game was out of reach with our offense. But this season there is hope.
I don’t mind seeing Montreal up there either. I even find my self watching the scoreboard and pulling for Montreal. I guess everybody loves an underdog.
Anyway… Shane Reynolds had settled down somewhat after his shaky first inning, but he (a) still wasn’t great, (b) had thrown over ninety pitches entering the sixth, and (c) was facing Jeff Kent to lead off, and Kent had raked him for a single and double.
The real crime was letting him bat for himself in the top of the inning.