ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Braves at Diamondbacks – 05/03/2003
You can’t win them all, but losing like this… The Braves took a 6-3 lead into the bottom of the sixth, but Ray King allowed a two run homer, and then in the seventh the umpires took over the game. Kevin Gryboski had pitched to three hitters, allowing a hit and a walk. And then the umpires decided that the bandage on his left left wrist (where he was hit by a line drive against the Astros) was the wrong color, and ejected him. Jung Bong came into the game without warming up and allowed two hits to give the Diamondbacks the lead. Now, I’m hardly Gryboski’s biggest fan, but in that case the Braves were better off with him in there than a cold pitcher of whatever quality.
It never should have gotten that far. The Braves loaded the bases in the first of Curt Schilling, but didn’t score. They had thirteen hits, two homers (one by Andruw; it was the first time this year they lost when he homered) and five walks. No way they should have scored only six runs, and the D-Backs should have been playing out the game rather than trying to rally at that stage.
Russ Ortiz didn’t really pitch well — six hits and five walks in five innings — but he managed to hold the Diamondbacks to three runs. The only Brave pitcher to not be charged with a run — actually the only one not charged multiple runs — was the man on the hill when the tying and winning runs were scored, Bong.
Robert Fick had three hits, including a homer, and three RBI. Andruw also had three RBI and moved into a tie for the league lead… The Expos also lost, so the Braves maintained the lead in the division.
Interesting contrast between paragraphs two and three Mac – you could switch the teams and pitchers around without anyone noticing. Both starting pitchers struggled with a bunch of hits and walks, but neither team was able to put it away early.
The Gryboski thing was weird. It was a late game and I was dozing by that time, but I thought Bong had all the time he needed to get warm. The thing that gets me is that Kevin was allowed to pitch to three batters with a non-conforming uniform. Why does it get noticed then?
I remember a game between the Yanks and Red Sox during Billy Martin’s last go ’round. Oil Can Boyd had a no-hitter through 5 or 6 for the Sox. But he was wearing a Mr. T starter set. Martin made a big deal about it mid game, Boyd was required to take off the jewelry and there was a 5-10 break in the action between Martin’s bluster, and Boyd’s voiciferous response. Boyd proceeded to give up a tenuous lead immediately after. I often wonder why opposing teams don’t try the same thing with Pedro Martinez’s sleaves which are cut and frayed. Since no one can hit him, might as well try to out-psych him.
I forgot to mention something – does anyone understand the Holds Rule? ESPN shows Gryboski being credited both with a loss and with a hold. Is that because the runners scored after he left the game but were still credited to him?
Why does it get noticed then?
I believe he may have removed his glove, and at that point they noticed. Which of course begs one to ask why it even mattered, if it was only visible with the glove removed…
I was long since asleep by the time the Braves lost this game (like many folks in Tuscaloosa, Ala., I had a VERY long day yesterday), but to me, the game was lost when Ortiz threw so many pitches early on. That meant it took the Braves out of their normal bullpen usage pattern — King 7th, Hernandez 8th, Smoltz 9th.
The Braves have been playing so well lately that it’s hard for me to complain too much, but it’s disappointing when they rock Schilling for once and can’t hold on and win…
I often wonder why opposing teams don’t try the same thing with Pedro Martinez’s sleaves which are cut and frayed. Since no one can hit him, might as well try to out-psych him.
Some enterprising manager did this a couple years ago. He now wears one of those insanely popular Dri-FIT mock turtlenecks with the sleeves unaltered.
Is that because the runners scored after he left the game but were still credited to him?
Exactly. He entered in a save situation, recorded an out, and left with the lead intact.
Now, some thoughts on the game. When Spivey was brought in to pinch hit, it was time to get King out of the game. Spivey has a massive platoon split and should never be allowed to face a lefty in anything resembling a high-leverage situation. And while, as Mac said, the Braves would have been better off with a warm Gryboski than a cold Bong in the seventh, that’s a function of Cox picking the wrong pitcher to begin with. Gryboski has no business pitching in the majors, let alone in key situations for a contending club. Since last July, he’s walked more batters than he’s struck out on his way to a 6.60 ERA. If Bong was available to pitch after Gryboski got tossed, there’s no reason he shouldn’t have been available to start the inning.
Rivers, thanks for the info on the Hold. It doesn’t seem like a well thought out stat, but wins / losses / saves all have quirks too. I get really upset when Cox uses Smoltz to maximize a stat (saves) but not to maximize team wins. I guess a weird Holds’ total for Gryboski is a much lower grade problem.
But my comment about Pedro wasn’t regarding his undershirt, but rather his uniform itself. Watch him next time out: he slits the seam running down the sleeve on both arms allowing the uniform to flop around more than anyone else’s.
FYI to back up what Rivers said about Spivey – from 2000 to 2002, Spivey had a 1.038 OPS versus LHP, but only .745 against northpaws. In that same time, Ray King allowed right handed hitters a .750 OPS and .564 to lefties. I don’t like the LaRussaization of the modern bullpen, but sometimes it makes sense. Here is one time where the opposition was able to get their strength pitted against the Braves weakness.