– MLB – Recap – Orioles at Braves – 06/21/2003

This was actually a pitcher’s duel for most of its length. The Orioles had a 1-0 lead going to the bottom of the sixth, but the Braves got five runs on a single by Andruw (breaking out of his slump with two hits and a walk, showing good patience at the plate) and a double by Fick, followed by Javy’s three-run homer. And in the eighth, Javy hit another three-run shot, followed by a two-run pinch hit homer by Matt Franco. Hey, the Braves are a big inning team.

Javy now has 21 homers, tying him with Sheffield for the team lead, just one behind Mike Lowell and Adam Dunn for the NL lead. Pretty good for a guy everyone thought was done when the season began. He’s like a completely different player, and not only from the ghost of a player of the last couple of seasons. He’s playing far better than he did even before the knee injury.

Horacio Ramirez pitched very well, seven innings, one run, six hits, only one of them for extra bases, seven strikeouts and one walk. For all the sky-is-falling talk about the Braves’ pitching staff, it really isn’t that bad. The Braves are now sixth in the NL in ERA at 3.98 — actually, in a pack of five teams between 3.97 and 4.01. That pitching would be better if Bobby wouldn’t do stupid things like skip Ramirez while pitching Shane “The Human Time Bomb” Reynolds in rotation. (ERAs of the Braves’ five primary starters: 3.56, 3.59, 4.09, 4.31… 5.24. Guess which one is Reynolds.)

Jason Marquis pitched the ninth after sitting on the bench for the last week, just in case the game went into the seventeenth inning or something. (Once again, why in the world do the Braves have seven relievers when one never pitches?) He threw twelve pitches, seven strikes, no hits, no walks, and a strikeout. Time to sit down for another week… Marcus Giles probably needs to sit down for at least a couple of days. He actually hit a couple of balls hard, but was 0-5 again and is now at .296. He was the only Braves starter — including Ramirez — to not get a hit.

Day game tomorrow, of course, as the Braves go for the sweep. Unfortunately, Reynolds is pitching.