ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Reds at Braves – 05/26/2003
Stupid Vinny. After the Reds led off the eleventh with a single, they graciously bunted to give the Braves an out. Instead of taking the sure out, Glove Boy tried force the issue at second. Fielder’s Choice, E-5, everyone’s safe, and three batters later, pinch-hitter Adam Dunn (Bobby walked the slumping Aaron Boone to load the bases with one out) hit a grand slam off of Boom-Boom Bobby Hernandez. The Braves scored three in the bottom of the inning but ran out of outs. I hate Vinny.
Before Boom-Boom’s negative heroics, the bullpen had done a superb job. Mike Hampton had allowed three runs in the first four innings but then threw two scoreless ones, then the pen did its thing well for four. However, the Braves were making John Riedling look like vintage Greg Maddux and couldn’t mount a threat. They rallied to tie it in eighth, then Bobby made a mistake by bringing Smoltz in but not double-switching, and only got one inning from his best reliever.
The Braves loaded the bases on walks with one out in the tenth, but Fick struck out swinging and Javy flew out. Javy was the only Braves regular to go hitless… The Braves left eleven runners on base and got another runner (Vinny, who else?) thrown out at home. Where did Fredi Gonzalez learn to coach third base?
In answer to your question. I believe former Red Sox 3rd base coach and sprinting clown, Wendall Kim, better known by the moniker “Wave ’em in Wendall”, runs a school down in Cuba in the off season. Fredi attended class down there this past winter.
A few of my not so happy comments about the two folks managing the game today:
So between these two managing genuises I’ve learned:
Vinny saves us 2 runs a game with the glove.
Adam Dunn just isn’t good enough to start.
With two guys left in the pen, make sure your best reliever can only pitch one inning.
The time to double switch is when you are down four.
Let Retiesma fight through the inning and let the opponent tie the game.
It should take three pitcher to work throught the 7th inning of a game.
Repeat after me “Henry ‘Personal Catcher’ Blanco” is a major leaguer. No really, he is a great defender and hits enough to be on the roster. Henry Blanco is a major leaguer. Henry Blanco is a major leaguer. Henry Blanco is a major leaguer.
If I say it enough I’ll convince myself.
After this past week, I’ve noticed something very, very clear. Robert Hernandez must be shot…
No seriously, how much of a hit would the Braves take financially if they released him? Hell, just banish him to the back of the bullpen and let Bong, Hodges, and King handle the setup role.
Boom-Boom isn’t paid that much, I think. I mean, more than the minimum, but they could afford to cut him. But as long as Joey Dawley is considered the first call-up from Richmond, I don’t think that’s going to happen.
I miss Mike Remlinger.
As far as things to worry about, I put the bullpen second or third on the list. It’s been a couple of years since he had to do it, but I have no doubt that Bobby will pull one of his patented mid-season bullpen house-cleanings round the first of June and that it will do much to solve the current suckage issues.
This is the point where the Braves would usually give Rudy Seanez a call. Rudy’s gainfully employed with the BoSox, so that won’t be happening this year.
Free Freddi Gonzalez! (To seek employment elsewhere).
Two things on Vinny’s throw to 2nd Mac – I couldn’t prove it by anything I actually saw or heard on the replay, but typically on a play where the guy fielding a bunt has his back to the play, the decision about which base to throw to is made by someone with the play in front of him. So the blame there might better be assessed to Javy. (Am I actually defending the play of Vinny Castilla? Oh my god.)
Secondly, the guy was out anyway – blown call. Even if Furcal juggled it, he clearly had it back safely in his right hand with his foot on the bad before the runner arrived.
While I hate to go on record in support of Vinny, the fact is that he made the right play, because he got him. The ump blew the call.
The real goat was Fick, who only needed to avoid a DP or K to win the game. But since he’s the reason we were even in extra innings, I’m not going to pass judgment.
I was delighted to see Smoltz with the game tied in the ninth, because this was the first time in years I’d seen BC actually use his brain and discard his “book”. I just assumed that he had double-switched so that Smoltz could pitch the 10th as well. Once again, my bad == thinking that he had made an intelligent in-game move.
Are Matt Franco’s platoon diffs that bad that he gets burnt in a L/R duel?
I don’t want to sound sacreligious, but doesn’t it seem as if Marcus Giles has stopped taking walks? It looks as if he, as much as the SVOD, is swinging at every first pitch that comes near the plate. Discipline at bat, as well as his surprizing power, are Marcus’ chief assets. One of those assets appears to have gone missing (I hope temporarily).
I thought going with Smoltz for only one inning was strange as well, since he’d only pitched in one of the last four games. Basically, Cox was saying “we’re going to try really hard to win it this inning, but if we don’t, we’re going to try less hard next inning.” Then he runs Hernandez out there, a guy who gave up a late inning homer the day before! Why no Bong against Dunn? You could see it coming a mile away…
I was also completely blown away by the one inning Smoltz deal, especially because the heart of the order was coming up the next inning. Prime ace reliever two inning material. I thought for sure that Berto was gonna blow it in the 10th, but when Dunn showed up with the bases juiced, I knew it was over. There were so many things wrong with that game from both teams, it really was annoying to watch. I can’t believe Adam Dunn can’t start over Jose Guillen, regardless of how well he’s playing.
And it does seem like Giles is swinging at everything all the sudden. I remember a few weeks ago watching him really work the count and take a lot of pitches. It doesn’t seem like he’s doing that any more. Of course, it could just be selective memory.
And, from his ESPN game log, Giles hasn’t walked since May 17, about 27 AB’s. But, he also had a stretch of about 27 AB’s earlier in the season without a walk. I’d love to see pitches per PA, but it does look like his patience is down, but it’s probably not a big deal. His OBP has been consistently around .400, which is beyond amazing. And apparently he had a sore calf I didn’t know about. I’m sure he’ll be fine. That makes me feel better.