ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Braves at Giants – 08/21/2003
The way I figure it, you can’t account for Barry Bonds. This isn’t just a once in a generation player, but a once in a lifetime player. So when he hits his second extra-inning homer to beat the Braves in three days, you just tip your cap and move on. Trey Hodges gave up this one. Bobby still won’t use Smoltz in a tie game, it seems. Smoltz hasn’t pitched in a week; why can’t he get some work even if it’s in a tie game?
Horacio Ramirez gave up three runs in seven innings. His control is still off, but he managed to at least be effectively wild in the later innings. Mercker struggled a bit in an inning but came out unscathed, and Will Cunnane had another solid inning of work and pretty soon we’ll have to take him seriously.
Jason Schmidt completely shut down the Braves for eight innings. But he’d thrown 105 pitches and has had some injuries, so Felipe Alou went to Tim Worrell, who gave up three runs in the ninth on two hits and two walks, plus an error, to tie the game. The Braves easily could have taken the lead, but Darren Bragg hit a rocket that Andres Galarraga caught on the fly for a DP.
Gary Sheffield’s hit streak came to an end in an admirable fashion. 0-4 entering the ninth, he came up with two on, nobody out, and Worrell having trouble throwing strikes. Instead of forcing it, Gary took four straight balls to load the bases, and later scored the tying run… Now on to Colorado. The Rockies are a .492 ballclub, but that’s not really true. They have a huge homefield advantage and are hopeless on the road. They come off of a sweep of the Marlins with a 44-19 home record. Like the Marlins, the Phillies lost, so the Braves still hold the huge lead in the division. Actually, nothing much has changed in the last ten days.
I have a suggestion for Bobby Cox: If resting your closer is so damn important to you that you rather get swept by your biggest rival for the pennant than bringing him in a tie game, that you feel no urge using your best reliever against the best hitter in the game in a game-deciding situation, that you feel like it’s worth risking home-field advantage in the playoffs against the Giants, than why don’t you just send him home for the last 5 weeks of the season? Seriously, what better way to rest your closer than to let him do nothing but fishing and playing golf? Right now he’s a waste of a roster spot. Or better, why not send everybody home and let the AAA team play the remainder of the season? They might all have some minor injuries that need 5 weeks to recover. Since the remaining 35 regular season games apparently are no big thing for you, and goals like a 100-win season, maybe even breaking the Atlanta record of 106 wins, or getting Chipper Jones his 8th straight 100-RBI season don’t seem to be very important, wouldn’t that be the right thing to do, Mr.Cox?
Smoltz has to be hurt. Not even Cox is that stupid…
Say you bring in Smoltz in the tenth and he gets them out, 1-2-3. We go on to score a run in the 11th, only to have “X” reliever give up a couple in the bottom half of the inning to lose the game. Why play an extra inning for the same result? If Hodges had gotten out of the inning, a run in the 11th would have meant something with Smoltz was waiting in the wing.
On another note, Hodges obviously doesn’t know how to waste a pitch. The one he was supposed to waste in game one went to the backstop, and this one went over the centerfield wall.
Does anyone know why Schmidt intentionally walked Fick in the 9th to make it bases loaded? I think Castilla is a threat as well. Stupid decision on Schmidt’s part. But it was good for us.
I think Smoltzy is gonna be used only in real save situations. I think Schuerholz does not want him to go more than an inning. I personally think Cunanne should have stayed in the game for the 9th and the 10th too.
In some ways I am glad the Braves got beaten up cos I don’t want them to take things easy here. This is a good lesson. Dirty losses like this should make them a better team for the postseason, when it counts. Let the Braves get burned now cos I’m sick of these stupid things happening in the postseason. Losses like these are the best lesson for them now. Anyways I will end my sermon now
As far as the NL Central- I want the Cubbies to win cos I think the Braves will want to face the Cubs rather than the red hot Astros. What do u guys think? Also, assuming that the wildcard will come out of the NL East is it safe to say that the Braves will face the NL Central winners regardless of whether the Braves or San Fran get the highest winning percentage?
I don’t buy that, Creg. If his ‘injury’ was serious enough to keep him basically unemployed for the whole month, I think we would have heard something about it. I think Bobby’s just being overly protective to the point where it’s really getting ridiculous, and that’s really pissing me off. Yesterday’s game was probably as big a game as you can have with a 11.5 game division lead, and after they tied it in the 9th against the other team’s closer, which gave the team a huge boost, Bobby should have done anything he can to win this game. But apparently he thought that 2 or 3 innings against the Giants in August would seriously affect John’s strength come October.
snellville: Sorry but that’s horrible logic in my mind. You can’t worry about a possible save situation when you have the best hitter in the game at the plate and one swing of his bat could end the game. You have to find a way to get him out first, and the next guy as well. Then youo start thinking about what happens if you get the lead. Of course if the Braves had scored a run in the 11th it would have been a no-brainer to leave Smoltz in for 1 more inning
This hysteria over Smoltz is getting ridiculous.
1. The Braves have a huge lead.
2. The Braves lost three games to the Giants by a total of three runs. A lot of luck is involved when a team loses three straight by three runs. Sure we can bitch about not winning any games due to Bobby’s strategy, but I am patiently waiting to see what he learns from this.
Lastly, on a side note, someone said Hodges should’ve wasted a pitch. Is that a joke? Waste a pitch to the player with the best batting eye? What purpose does that serve?
The other night, the game was tied in the top of the ninth, and Smoltz began warming up in case the Braves scored. I doubt he’s injured.
You don’t waste one pitch to Barry, you waste four. It’s called an unintentional-intentional walk. As far as my horrible logic, Smoltz and the rest of the Braves management have vowed that he will not pitch more than an inning for the rest of the year. As has been stated, we have a huge lead and there is no reason to risk hurting his arm. Also, you don’t play for a tie on the road. Cox has always stood by this, and there is no reason to think he’s going to change his strategy now. Maybe in October we will see Smoltz go two innings, but it ain’t gonna happen until then.
But the man’s a pitcher, he needs work to stay sharp! Of course you don’t wanna risk hurting his arm, but you can’t allow him to get rusty either! And there was an aspect in which this game actually did matter. It’s called home-field advantage in the NL playoffs!
As for unintentionally-intentionally walking Bonds, I don’t see the point in doing that. If there’s one hitter on earth that will NEVER chase bad pitches and get himself out, it’s Bonds. So it’s basically senseless to try to get him to do that.Simply putting up 4 fingers would have been the right move in that situation, in my opinion.