– 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.