ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Orioles at Braves – 06/20/2003
Another day, another no-hit bid. But the Braves got more runs this time. Greg Maddux had another terrific start, three runs, two earned, in seven-plus innings, and didn’t give up a hit until two out in the sixth. Ray King allowed two inherited runs to score, but Gryboski and Bong got out of the eighth without further damage, and Smoltz closed it out.
Robert Fick was the hitting star with a fourth inning grand slam and another RBI in the fifth, then scoring the last Braves run in the seventh. Rafael Furcal had two hits and a walk, and Gary Sheffield scored twice.
I’m worried about Marcus Giles. He was 0-5, and is down to .302 on the year. His average has fallen 27 points and his OPS about 60 in the last week. Slumps happen, but 1-23 doesn’t normally.
Hey, first post here. I’m really digging the blog! Did anybody who watched the game (I was at the Hulk premiere) know how good a hand Kerry Ligtenberg got from the Atlanta fans?
Just found your blog. Love it. Adding it to the blog roll and my rss feedreader. Heard it was a great game tonight, sorry I missed it.
I was only half-way paying attention, but I didn’t notice any particularly warm reception for Ligtenberg (then again, it’s possible he got it when he took the mound between innings, which wasn’t televised). It didn’t seem that Surhoff got any special hand, either.
Once again, Cox let the pitcher hit one inning then had to remove him the next without getting an out. Oh well, I guess the game just wasn’t exciting enough without a gasoline-pouring performance by The Fat Man (the one out he got was on a laser beam that “Quick First Step” Vinny speared in the glove-side hole).
Sluggo and Bong did well enough to get out of the jam, but I think we got our answer as to whether Cox will use Smoltz before the ninth again (Holmes was warming up when Bong was on the mound). I’d be happy if he’d just let Bong become the No. 1 lefty.
I mentioned in an earlier reply that Marcus was beginning to concern me also. Bobby gave him a day off on Thursday and it did not seem to help as he went 0-5 again on Friday. He shows almost no patience at the plate right now (likely he is also concerned about his plumeting average and is pressing) additionally he is no longer trying to go to right field. Everything is a weak pop up or a weak ground out to 2nd or SS. He is complety out of the formula that made him so successful earlier in the season.
Marcus and Andruw both are in hackaway mode (though Andruw did add his third walk of the month last night, at least). It’s ugly. Marcus has gone through such impatient stretches before, and generally they have ebbed. But both of these guys need to quickly remember the kind of approach that was working for them early in the year.
I think we got our answer as to whether Cox will use Smoltz before the ninth again
Thursday was sort of a special situation; Cox apparently had Smoltz warmed up early because of the no-hitter. But also, the Friday game just wasn’t as close going into the 8th as it was Thursday. Just no point to having Smoltz ready there.
Walks, walks, walks, people! Marcus’ bread and butter is going to right and taking walks. Hitting second in the lineup is a dream slot for him, and worked so well when he and Raffy were hot. I hope he can get back to that, and that this is just a minor little slump.
Assuming the Braves usually warm up two pitchers at once (except when Smoltz throws by himself in the Bottom 8th/Top 9th), I assume Holmes only started throwing when fellow righty Gryboski came in the game. Why not Smoltz beginning to warm up there?
The tying run was at the plate with runners on first and second for crying out loud (then on second and third after Gryboski induced the groundout). If Bong doesn’t get Gibbons, we get Holmes rather than Smoltz to face Tony Batista … and possibly lose the lead on a three-run bomb.
Of course, it’s possible Cox has Bong/Holmes intentionally walk Batista to load the bases and bring up Deivi Cruz. Stop me before I second-guess myself to death!
Thanks, Rhett and Brad.
I didn’t think there was any chance of Smoltz pitching two innings last night. Of course, the game never really got that close, but it’s hard to expect any manager to pitch his closer in the eighth two games in a row.
Typically, if players are slumping I’d like Bobby to move them around in the order. But I’m not sure how you’d do that with this lineup. If you put Fick back in the two spot — leaving aside you’d be putting one of your hottest hitters in a spot that minimizes his strengths — and put Marcus sixth or seventh, you’d have four righthanded hitters in a row at the bottom of the order. That’s a no-no.
Andruw’s troubles began right after he had that hot streak coming off the knee and shoulder injuries. I wonder if his shoulder isn’t acting up again. I’d suggest giving him a day off if the Braves had a fourth outfielder worthy of the name.
Andruw’s slumps always seem to start after hot streaks; used to be you could predict a nice deep slump after any given 2 HR game. It has to be mental – he starts getting mroe and more aggressive as he believes he can hit anything and everything. Before you know it he has no discipline and his swing looks ugly.
Andruw has been in a defensive slump this year.
A lack of foucs perhaps? I find it strange that he struggles to make plays he made with ease in years past.