Since we’re never going to be rid of Shane Reynolds, at least we can take comfort in him pitching adequately last night. He went seven, giving up four runs, three on Jeff Bagwell’s sixth-inning homer. He apparently is in “put it in play” mode, walking none and striking out only two, and throwing only 76 pitches. I don’t think that will work longterm, but it got the job done last night.
Of course, that was because of the Braves’ offense, which scored six in the first. The rest of the night was frustrating, as they stranded nine runners and a couple of times let potential big innings get away. The game started making me nervous after Bagwell’s homer, and it never should have gotten to that point. The big blow in the first was Javy’s 30th homer of the season. Five Braves — Javy, Giles, Sheffield, Chipper, and Vinny — had two hits apiece.
Holmes had another strong outing in the setup role, and Smoltz threw only four pitches in about the easiest save you’ll get. It was his 40th of the season. The Braves are exactly 2/3 of the way through the season, and that means he’s on pace for 60 saves, a major league record. We’ll see what happens.
The Braves didn’t wind up with Mercker before the deadline but apparently are still talking to the Reds. I don’t know if he’ll get through waivers, though… Next up, the evil but punchless Dodgers come to town for three.