– MLB – Recap – Phillies at Braves – 06/24/2003

Everyone who thought that Javy Lopez would be tied for the major league lead in homers on June 25, raise your hands. I thought so. Javy hit two more last night, both solo shots — a game-tying shot in the fifth and an insurance run in the seventh. In between, Andruw hit one out to dead center, scoring Chipper in front of him.

It was an oddly pitched game. For the Braves, Russ Ortiz started out doing a Shane Reynolds impersonation, allowing ten baserunners in the first three innings. He managed to strand seven and get a double play, allowing only two runs, but he was lucky. His control was all over the place and it seemed he wouldn’t be in the game much longer. But then he turned around and retired the Phillies in order in innings 4-6. Just strange. He gave way to Ray King in the seventh after a double.

For the Phillies… I don’t know what to say about Kevin Millwood. He allowed seven hits and one walk in seven innings, which is pretty good. But in addition to the three homers there were three doubles, plus two home run balls pulled back by outfielders. And he didn’t strike anyone out. I didn’t get a real handle on his velocity, but he wasn’t blowing them away with his fastballs, and the Braves picked on his slider all night. Since the no-hitter and the rest of the fast start, Kevin’s been in free-fall. For those who think that the Braves would be better off with him instead of Greg Maddux, his ERA is now 4.07, Maddux’s 4.31 heading into a start tonight, and you know Maddux’s trend of late.

Marcus Giles finally got a hit, a double (he later scored) in the first. But then he went right back to hitting weak grounders and popups and generally getting himself out… Andruw also had an infield single to go with his homer. It came on a 3-2 pitch that I thought was ball four. His homer was also on a pitch a little away from him. We criticize him for swinging at outside pitches, and rightly so. But when that pitch is just a little outside, he often hammers it. The homer last night was like a lot of his homers; he hit it slightly off the end of the bat to center, I think “%@^!@! he got under it!” and 420 feet later it lands next to the camera in center field. For all that I’m sick of Joe Simpson talking about how the Braves should hit to the opposite field (hey, Joe, if you know so much about hitting, why’d you hit .242 for your career?) he has a point about Andruw, who doesn’t need to pull the ball to hit homers.