Atlanta 6, Texas 5 – MLB – Recap – Rangers at Braves – 06/03/2003

Andruw Jones did his best Kirk Gibson imitation last night, and the Braves rallied to win a game they only led for four outs of action. Trailing 5-4 after the usual Hernandez/King bullpen action, the Braves had Chipper at second with two out and Ugueth Urbina on the mound. Andruw, still out with a hurting knee, pinch-hit for Darren Bragg, and about time too. (Having Bragg around when his duties are confined to pinch-running or giving Sheffield the last couple of innings off in a blowout is one thing. Having him start in center is another.) Andruw fell behind 0-2, then rocketed an outside pitch to center to give the Braves a 6-5 lead.

Russ Ortiz started and had two awful innings to begin the game, falling down 4-0. He then settled down some and held the Rangers scoreless for the next four. He allowed seven hits (two of them homers) and four walks with only four strikeouts; do that, and you’re lucky if you hold them to four runs. Trey Hodges struck out two and allowed a walk in the seventh, then it was the Hernandez and King Show in the eighth. Hernandez faced three men and walked two, then King faced one, who singled in the go-ahead run that certainly wouldn’t have scored if the Braves had a real centerfielder rather than Bragg, whose throw was late and up the line. Gryboski finished the inning on two pitches, and Smoltz saved the game after Andruw’s heroics.

Chipper returned to the lineup and was 3-3 with a walk, scoring two runs. Javy is still out, and Henry Blanco had one hit, a two-run double. Furcal had a hit and a walk and his 100th career stolen base.

The Phillies and the reeling Expos both lost, and the Braves are now five and a half up on the latter and seven on the former… Tonight’s game sees Greg Maddux try to continue his recent good work against Rockies exile John Thomson. (That’s “Thomson” with no A in the middle.) For those outside the SportsSouth area, the game’s on ESPN2, and the Thursday day game on ESPN.

12 thoughts on “Atlanta 6, Texas 5”

  1. Can I just say I’m getting tired of seeing Boom-Boom Bobby (nice nickname Mac) come into tight games. Seems like (I’m too lazy to look it up now) every time he’s come into a game recently, he gives up either 1) home run(s) to break ties/lose leads or 2) walks a bunch of guys and has to be relieved himself. When the next option out of the bullpen has consistently been ‘I have no idea where this next pitch is going’ Ray King, it makes for some frustrating baseball (my wife wants me to quit yelling at the TV–she’s like ‘what, did they put in Hernandez again?’). It was nice to see Trey Hodges pitch well again last night.

  2. Why pull Hodges in a tie game after only one (strong) inning? This is worse than the times Cox has been forced to pull Smoltz after failing to double-switch. He didn’t make the change because his lack of foresight forced his hand, he made it because he consciously favors a bad pitcher over a good one.

    We can all look forward to another playoff defeat.

  3. I just cannot bear to watch Hernandez. It’s painful. I find other things to do around the house, and pray that the game won’t be too out of hand by the time I come back to the TV.

  4. In Ortiz’s defense, Chipper very nearly caught that three-run homer Gonzo hit in the first. I only caught a glimpse of it on the replay, but it appeared a fan knocked the ball away at the last second (although the ball WAS clearly in the seats).

    Other than that, Ortiz pitched pretty well. He also once again helped out with his bat, with a two-out RBI single in the second.

  5. How long until something gets done about the bullpen? Another Gryboski miracle last night kept it from being too ugly (got ARod to hit into a DP with two on and one out), but it’s basically a two man pen these days. Hernandez and King are terrible, Gryboski only slightly better, Bobby doesn’t trust Bong, so that leaves Smoltz for the ninth and Hodges to cover all the innings in between. Even I don’t think Trey is up to that challange.

    I guess I’m forgetting Holmes but he always appears about one curve ball from the disabled list. It seems like it’s time to give some younger guys a chance.

  6. Maybe now that the draft is over the front office can turn its attention to the major league squad. Concerns:

    1. The bullpen.
    2. The bench.
    3. The rotation.

    Actually a better rotation would largely fix (1) and make (2) a lot less important, but it’s the hardest thing to repair. Finding relievers who can get through one inning without giving up a run more often than not isn’t that hard.

  7. As far as the bullpen goes, it is still early in the season and we have one of the largest leads over a second place team. Bobby doesn’t want to be rash and surrender roles in the bullpen. He will give “Boom Boom” every opporunity to keep the set-up job that he was actually doing well at earlier in the year. Cox understands these roles, as well as the egos that go along with them.

  8. In Ortiz’s defense, Chipper very nearly caught that three-run homer Gonzo hit in the first. I only caught a glimpse of it on the replay, but it appeared a fan knocked the ball away at the last second (although the ball WAS clearly in the seats).

    There’s actually a substantial gap between the wall and the stands, so that was likely an optical illusion.

  9. About the fly ball–it looked like Chipper did (barely) get a glove on it. Looked like he just missed it by a couple of inches. But, if that ball stays in the park, it’s a completely different game–1 other solo home run given up would not have been a bad night at all. And I can’t speak for everyone, but, Mac, the ‘Boom Boom’ Bobby H. nickname seems to be sticking–did you come up with it yourself (or see it somewhere else)? Whatever the case, I love it…

  10. Yeah, I must have gotten it from him. I wanted a nickname for Hernandez, I remember, and preferably an extra-demeaning one. (One of my less polite traits is to use diminutive nicknames for public figures who annoy me. I know I’ve called a bunch of French people by silly English names — calling Pierres “Petey” and Jeans “Johnnie” — over the last year or so.)

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