I love watching the Dodgers struggle. I mean, I want the Braves to win, of course, but it’s extra special when you beat the Dodgers. Chipper drove in three runs in the fifth with a triple, and the bullpen managed to not blow the game. Barely.
The Braves relied almost entirely on the first four spots in the order today. Furcal, Giles, Sheffield, and Chipper combined to go 7-15 with 5 runs and six RBI. The only other hits and the only other run were by Darren Bragg. Andruw, as expected, sat the game out. I think the Braves, what with the big lead, have to consider giving Andruw a rest on the 15-day DL.
Hampton had a start similar to several he’s had this year, no-hitting the Dodgers to two out in the fourth and taking a shutout to the sixth, but then quickly tiring, allowing a run in the sixth and three (one an inherited run off Gryboski) in the seventh, leaving with two out. He wound up throwing 101 pitches; to me, it looks like he’s really good for only about 75. But with this bullpen…
Bobby inexplicably used Ray King not only to finish the seventh, but to pitch the entire eighth. He did a good job, striking out two and giving up no hits or walks. But where is Holmes? Is he hurt again? And why are the Braves continuing to use these lousy relievers in key situations rather than find someone else? There’s no question about Smoltz, who struck out the side in the ninth for save 42. He’s on pace for 60 or 61.
The Phillies are losing big to the Padres, and the Braves could be back up to 11 1/2 up in a couple of hours. The game tomorrow is a normal afternoon game and will be on TBS.