ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Braves at Expos – 07/27/2003
Greg Maddux goes six innings, allowing six runs, including two homers… and was the Braves’ most effective pitcher after Jung Bong, who faced one batter. The Braves score ten runs and have 14 hits… and lose. Marcus Giles has a major-league record-tying four doubles… but strikes out going for his fifth with two runners in scoring position, perhaps costing the game. Roberto Hernandez, Ray King, and Kevin Gryboski all stink up Olympic Stadium… but continue to accrue major league service time.
Sometimes you have it too easy. If you have a big lead in the division, you don’t move to correct obvious flaws — like a bullpen where other than your closer, nobody has an ERA below four. It’s completely obvious to everyone that they aren’t getting it done. But when you’re ten games up, it’s not a pressing concern, and can afford to hope they get it straightened out. I’m sorry, but they can’t keep that up. The Braves have to make a move.
Anyway, the Braves scored four runs in the first and eight in the first five off of Tomo Ohka, and led 8-4 entering the sixth. Maddux seemed to be settling down, but all of the sudden allowed a two-run homer and it was 8-6. Time for the bullpen to open the seventh.
And King allows two hits and a walk, two runs in and a runner on, for Gryboski. Who gets an out on a bunt before giving up one of his patented shots right at him, which hit his shoulder but unfortunately not hard enough to knock his arm off. And the Expos take the lead. Jung Bong gets his man… And Bobby, inexplicably, goes to Boom-Boom. Who allows a two-run homer. After the Braves cut it to one in the top of the eighth, Boom-Boom allows another two-run homer. Why hasn’t he been released?
Wasted in all this were Marcus’ record effort, Robert Fick’s two homers, three hits and four runs scored by Furcal, and the Braves’ ten runs. The offense can’t keep up this pace, and even with it they’ve lost two of three. The bullpen must pay.
The Marlins and Phillies are tied in the ninth, and the way that series is going who knows what will happen?
The Phillies ultimately lost today again. Millwood’s ERA is now up to an even 4.
I just hate to see all those runs scored and then go on to lose. Despite the fact that Atlanta has lead the Expos 8-2 and 8-4 in two different games, they’re still trailing in the series 2-1. Baseball is a strange game indeed.
As for a trade move, it would be nice for the Braves to get a starter. But a good set up guy would be very useful right now. It just doesn’t seem right that the Braves have this great offense, decent starting pitching, and poor middle relief. I don’t want to start panicking now, but it seems every year we’re missing one piece of the puzzle: this year’s offense would’ve been great with last year’s bullpen, or 1993’s starting pitching.
Bobby sounds extremely concerned, as usual:
“We pitched poorly today — that sums it up. We’ve got a great ballclub. We’re hitting it, catching it, and we can pitch it, too. We just haven’t this series much.”
Here we go again. As usual Bobby Cox and his dogged love for the “veterans”. First Maddux can’t keep from allowing 6 runs and Bobby let’s him pitch into the 7th inning. And then the great leadership out of the bullpen shines through again. Is there anyone else who thinks that if that had been Jason Marquis pitching he would have been yanked after the 1st inning. I have a great respect for what Bobby has done and his ability to get the most out of what he has; but enough is enough. These veterans (ie: Shane Reynolds, Roberto Hernandez) have got to go.
Patrick, I can’t blame Bobby for letting Maddux pitch through the sixth. Not at all. Like I said, he was their most effective pitcher today. The bullpen is so bad right now that I’d let any starter who isn’t getting totally pasted have a chance to go at least six.
If the Braves had been running Marquis out there today, he’d have been left out as long as Maddux was. Bobby needed starter innings today more than anything else.