ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Mets at Braves – 05/25/2003
Greg Maddux got that good outing, seven three-hit scoreless innings. But he didn’t get a win, because Roberto Hernandez relieved him in the eighth and promptly allowed a homer to tie the game. For this, Hernandez was rewarded with his fourth win because Marcus Giles picked him up with a two-run homer in the eighth. Stupid MLB scoring rules. (How about a rule where if a starting pitcher goes at least six and isn’t charged with a run, and the team wins, he gets the win?)
It was once-typical Maddux while he was out there, 84 pitches, 52 strikes, three strikeouts, no walks. Of course, it was against the Mets and their AAA offense, but it’s good to see. Smoltz pitched a perfect ninth for the save, getting a couple of strikeouts in the bargain.
Jae Seo is a darned good pitcher and almost matched Maddux, allowing only three hits and no walks in seven innings, but one of the hits was an Andruw Jones homer. The Braves almost botched the eighth when Darren Bragg popped up a bunt and then didn’t run it out, allowing the Mets to turn a double play. Leaving aside the question of why you’d use a position player to pinch-bunt, Bragg is supposedly a “hustling” player. And he doesn’t run plays out? He’s also hitting .136/.208/.136. Cut him.
The Expos beat the Phillies two of three and remain two out, Philadelphia now seven out. Will Larry Bowa’s job be in jeopardy soon? The Braves now host the Reds for three starting tomorrow with a day game.
I’m not generally one of those old-school types who rants and raves over players not hustling, but what exactly does Bragg do that Bo Porter can’t? I’m starting to worry that Atlanta is going to get such a big lead that they won’t see the need to address an obvious area of concern — the bench.
Except when Blanco’s catching, there’s no one on the pine that’s a decent threat to pop a pinch homer. Eventually, that’s going to catch up with the Braves.
Well, Matt Franco has some pop, and DeRosa hit one the other day. But having a completely punchless fourth outfielder who can’t even get a bunt down, and when he fails gives up… That’s easily corrected. I think McDonald is having a better year than Porter, though.
I agree. I can understand keeping someone who’s sporting .136/.208/.136 if he’s young and has some sort of promise. But he’s 33 and he’s not had a solid season, unless you count 1996, when he had a pretty good K/BB ratio and some SBs, but that’s pushing it. I’d rather have Roger Cedeno and his inability to do anything right than Bragg. Atleast Cedeno can beat Bobby Cox in a foot race.
Wow, Rob, I don’t know if I’d go that far (ie. Cedeno/Bragg, which was, I assume, hyperbole). Bragg does have a good glove, and I think that has to count for something when he is the only ‘true’ backup outfielder (I know Fick and M. Franco can play the outfield in a pinch, but Bragg has made some very good defensive plays for us in the past). And Cedeno, by all accounts is a liability in the field (or at least by all accounts that came to my memory-I’m a little too lazy to check right now). That to say (or rather to ask): should Bragg’s rep as a ‘glove man’ keep him with the team? Or is there a suitable in-house replacement (who can be a ‘true’ 4th outfielder) with more pop in their bat?
BTW, he did tick me off with his standing at the plate watching his pop-up bunt fall for a double play. Is it too much to ask that you come into a game mentally ready for anything?
Someone has to back up Andruw in center. Behind Bragg, I don’t know who it would be. DeRosa? But finding a fourth outfielder who can play center and hit a little isn’t that hard.
I didn’t see the game yesterday (damn new house), why was Maddux pulled after seven and 82 pitches? Any particular reason?
As for who could back Andruw up – I’d say the starting centerfielder on any of the Braves minor league affiliates would be better than Bragg.
Maddux was a little tired, probably, and had to throw extra pitches to get the last out. Plus it looked like he was about to attack the home plate umpire.
I loved how Bobby was arguing with the ump and they had to stop to the singing of “God Bless America”. Classic. Anyway, it looked like he was going to get another hook if it had continued, which made me wonder- How many of Bobby’s ejections have come while Maddux has been pitching? I know it is at least two or three times this year alone.
Why did Maddux leave the game? From today’s AJC:
“He didn’t look spent, having retired the last 11 batters he faced. But Maddux said, “I was done. I was tired; that was all I had. More mentally tired than physically.”
Pressed further on the subject, he said tersely, “I was mentally tired because I’ve been pitching like [expletive], to be honest. Today, mentally I was a lot better than I’ve been.”