The Braves had another game similar to the first of the Milwaukee series, where for most of the game they simply didn’t hit the ball hard. Cardinals starter Garrett Stephenson is going to get credit for pitching 7 1/3 good innings, but he only struck out one and allowed nine baserunners. The Braves simply couldn’t hit the ball hard. The best thing Stephenson did was start a double play in the sixth. The Braves got two hits and a run after that, and if not for the DP probably would have won the game.
I thought, on a superficial level, that Shane Reynolds looked better than Stephenson. His line was pretty similar; six innings, one strikeout, three walks, five hits, but two runs instead of Stephenson’s one. I’m guessing that if it hadn’t been a day game after a night game both offenses would have let loose, but that’s just a guess. There were a lot of long fly balls by each team.
Ray King had probably the most humiliating moment of the many humiliating moments for the bullpen this year. Trying to intentionally walk Albert Pujols with a runner on third and two out, King threw a wild pitch to let the runner score. Officially, it didn’t matter, because the Braves lost by two. However, Robert Fick got as far as second in the top of the ninth, and the Braves might have been able to get him across for the tie in a one-run game. On the other hand, you’re supposed to play for the win, not the tie, on the road… Other than the wild pitch, King looked okay in two innings of work.
The loss broke an eight-game winning streak over the Cardinals by the Braves, who still have the majors’ largest lead, 12 1/2 over Philly and Florida. Tomorrow is the Sunday Night game on ESPN, Horacio Ramirez versus Woody Williams, two guys who seem to have hit the wall lately.