ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Braves at Mets – 05/30/2003
That was unusual. The Maddux/Glavine confrontation was won by the former, but he only went five innings before running out of gas. He pitched in what I thought was bad luck in the first, allowing five hits (one was only a sort-of hit, when leadoff man Roger Cedeno ran into a ball hit by second-place hitter Rey Sanchez. That’s scored as runner out, batter singles, but come on. By the way, even Bobby wouldn’t hit Sanchez second. Art Howe is a clown.) Maddux allowed two runs in the inning, but really could have gotten out of it unscathed with better defense. He allowed only two hits after that but was working really hard to get outs — that the home-plate umpire would not call a third strike didn’t help — and left after five with 83 pitches thrown. Holmes and King threw perfect innings, and then Boom-Boom Hernandez tried to make it interesting, but Bobby got Smoltz in there before Hernandez could allow any runs, and Smoltz struck out the only four batters he faced for his twentieth save.
Meanwhile, Glavine was giving up solo homers — one each to Sheffield, Julio Franco, DeRosa, and Chipper. Giles pinch-hit a sac fly to score the last run, and hopefully — despite DeRosa’s homers the last two games — he’ll be back in the lineup tomorrow. Every Brave hitter had at least one hit except Furcal, which broke a streak of reaching base something like 36 games in a row, I don’t remember the exact number. Chipper and Julio had three hits each, and Andruw Jones had one — his 1000th career hit.
Day game on Fox tomorrow, night game on ESPN Sunday… The Phillies and Expos are playing three, and Philadelphia looks like the winner of the first game. That would drop the Expos to 4 1/2 out and keep the Phillies at 8 back.
By the way, if ever you were going to sit the Personal Catcher with Maddux going, wouldn’t it be the night the Braves are facing Glavine? Javy homered against him last time and he’s caught him hundreds of times. If anyone knows Tom’s pitching, it’s Javy.
Speaking of the personal catcher, anybody else notice that Johnny Estrada is hitting .374/.441/.580 at Richmond? Believe me, I’m not saying the deal wasn’t so bad, but I am saying this guy is wasting his Age 27 year in the bushes, while Blanco continues to be Blanco.
Another horrendous decision tonight by Freddi Gonzalez, sending Vinny on a shallow pop to center with only one out and the top of the order on the way. For those who missed it, Castilla was out by 10 feet but Wilson dropped the throw.
By the way, just saw that Ron Gant was designated for assignment by the Athletics, meaning Oakland has 10 days (I think) to trade him or release him. Would love to have him back in Atlanta as a pinch-hitter and lefty-masher, but the thought of a John Schuerholz-Billy Beane conversation has Chamberlain-Hitler possibilities. It would probably go something like this…
Beane: We’ll let you have Gant, and we’ll only ask for Trey Hodges.
Schuerholz: That sounds OK, but I’ll throw in Marcus Giles as well, just to make it fair.
Beane: I guess, but why don’t give us the Rhineland as well…
Schuerholz: Done. By the way, do you know where I can find Alejandro Pena?
Beane: He’s pitching in the Mexican League. I can get him out of his contract for you if you can give us one player. (With hand over phone) Paul, who do we want from the Braves’ system?
Paul DePodesta: Get Wainwright. Now.
Beane: (to Schuerholz) Give me Wheelwright, or whatever his name is, and Alejandro’s on his way.
Schuerholz: Thanks, Billy, pleasure doing business with you…
I’ve often mocked the Braves’ decision to give Smoltz $10m to be a relief pitcher. That said, I’m continuing to think he has much more value this year than last, as the anchor and bailout guy for a mediocre pen instead of the closer on an excellent pen. Hernandex drives me nuts with his control, but it’s good to have Smoltz to come in and fix things.
The Braves really, really need Maddux to be going deeper into games. This 83 pitch “I’m tired” bit just can’t go on. He’s broken the 100 pitch mark twice this season, so it’s not as if he can’t do that at all. Milk an extra inning here or there.