ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Mets at Braves – 07/20/2003
Sometimes you just have to step back and say, “Wow”. The Braves trailed 8-3 going into the bottom of the eighth inning. They scored eight runs, the big blow Javy’s pinch-hit homer that pulled the game to within one. The game was tied before the Mets could get an out, and the Braves could have added more; they had the bases loaded with one out, but Javy struck out (hey, he wasn’t expecting to bat twice) and Furcal grounded out.
The best hitting lines of the day were — remarkably — put up by Bragg and the Personal Catcher, getting a rare non-Maddux start because of the head. Bragg had a tremendous day, going 3-3 and walking twice, raising his average to .192. I have to give him credit for seemingly turning it around, though he’s still completely punchless (he still has no homers and only two extra-base hits this year) and I still don’t want him to be the primary bench outfielder. Blanco also had three hits and is actually over the Mendoza line at .204.
Horacio Ramirez got knocked around, allowing five runs, four earned, in 4 2/3. He only struck out run, and played bad defense, committing an error on a bunt that helped knock him out of the game. I’m a little worried that the league is catching up with him. Gryboski bailed him out in the fifth, and kept the Braves in the game. I still don’t like him.
The Mets padded the lead off of Jung Bong, who gave up three runs in the top of the eighth and needed to be bailed out by Ray King. Bong actually pitched worse than that, allowing four hits and four walks in only 1 1/3, and throwing more balls than strikes. Ugly. King got the win; Smoltz gave up a couple of hits but got the save.
I wonder what it must have been like for the Phillies. They won today, but they probably thought they were sure to make up ground when the score went to 8-3. And then it’s 8-4, 8-7, 8-8, 9-8… It has to be frustrating. They’re a good team, and they’re 9 1/2 back of first. The rest of the division is officially out of it, and on the verge of falling out of the wildcard hunt. Florida is 15 back, and about to lose to make it 15 1/2, where Montreal/San Juan already is. The Braves have stupid little two game series at home with the Cubs and Marlins coming up. The Phillies, unfortunately, get two with the Mets.
Almost makes up for what happened in 2000, doesn’t it?
But as for Ramirez, you’re probably right. He didn’t pitch well against Chicago, and now this outing. Hopefully, this is just a mini slump. But if he keeps getting knocked around like this, then the Braves will definately need a new starter. Reynolds probably won’t be able to pick up the slack for Ramirez.
If they trade Marquis for Kris Benson, I may need a new picture of Scheurholz. I think they need to make a move, but they don’t need another bad starter.
Ramirez really strikes me as one of those guys who isn’t quite as good as he should be. There’s no reason a lefty with movement and a 92-MPH fastball can’t strike out more than 5 1/2 batters per nine. On the other hand, he’s that close to being really good.
The first full game I’ve been able to follow with Skip in the booth, and all is good with the world. Ahh. I had good feelings about this one all day. When the Braves were down 2-0, I had a good feeling Andruw would hit the ball hard off Leiter – okay, I was thinking homer, but a hard line drive double would suffice. And Javy against the lefty stanton was a nice matchup that had me sure something good was going to happen.
A .670 winning %. Just unbelievable. I figured 92 wins would take the NL East, and in fact that’s exactly the pace Philly is on. They’re 8-2 their last 10 games and have lost a game in the standings.
According to Pythagoras, the Phils actually edge the Braves in expected winning%. However, a lot ot that is built on a few major, major implosion games the Braves have had. Otherwise, this team has rolled like nobody’s business. And if you want some fun with arbitrary endpoints, how about this – beyond their .670 overall w%, they have gone 61-24 since their awful 4-8 start, a w% of .717.
I wonder if Bobby’s managing style depresses the Braves’ Pythagorean numbers. (I’ve been trying to work up an entry on this, but haven’t yet.) It seems to me that the Braves don’t pour it on in blowouts quite as much as they could sometimes, and tend to fold (well not today!) when they get too far down to come back. That 20-1 game in Florida comes to mind; instead of staunching the bleeding, it seemed like they were willing to treat the rest of the game as practice and hope nobody got hurt.
not having watched the game (I work nights) the ESPN highlights showed Ramirez making a great defensive play (run down, throw to 3rd for the DP) so with the error wouldn’t you say he broke even ? I didn’t watch the game though, any other chances ?
Don’t know about Ramirez, but one of Smoltz’s hits allowed should have been an out. It was a grounder and the runner was thrown out, but the ump called him safe. The replays showed the 1B’s foot on the bag with the ball. Oh well, no harm done, I guess.
I’m pretty sure Franco or Fick would have made that grounder to Castilla in the 9th, but they had DeRosa at 1B. He still did have his foot on the bag though. Ramirez’s error wasn’t really a bad defensive play, it was a pretty tough play. He could have easily not fielded it and seen if the ball would have rolled foul, but he fielded it and made a quick throw and pulled Fick off the bag.
I thought DeRosa made a decent play on that ball in the 9th; I was worried when that play was being made that it would be the kind to expose his inexperience at 1B. But he did seem to keep his foot on the bag, and fielded it cleanly.
Although I share your concerns about his pitching, calling Ramirez’ error ‘bad defense’ is a little harsh from what I saw Mac. On the bunt, which was not going to roll foul, Vinny had backed up to the bag, so Ramirez was the only fielder in the zip code. I think he was right in trying to make the play, especially given his obvious athletic skills (as displayed on the brilliant play in the 1st that Wes refers to) and since he had a pitcher running to 1st. An error, yes, but one that didn’t cost a whole lot given that the other choice was letting it roll to a stop on the infield grass for a hit. It was his pitching that did him in, not his defense.
As an aside, with Ray King obviously excepted, there are some damn good athletes on this pitching staff, especially among the new faces. Of course, I’d settle for damn good pitchers even if they were slovenly, but it’s kind of fun to watch.