ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Pirates at Braves – 09/06/2003
More like this, please. Maddux was great (until he tired and his defense — well, Vinny — let him down in the eighth) and the Braves broke for four in the first and ran with it from there. Trey Hodges tried to make it interesting in the ninth, but didn’t allow a run.
The offensive heroes were mostly Furcal (4-5, two runs scored), Chipper (1-2 with a three-run double in the first, plus three walks) and especially Sheffield, who went 3-4 with a homer and double, plus a walk. Oh, Vinny was 4-5, but didn’t get any help from those around him, getting just one RBI and no runs.
Maddux allowed eight hits, but as usual didn’t walk anyone, plus struck out three. Two milestones: it’s his fourteenth win, bringing him one within the record for consecutive 15-win seasons, and he finally got his ERA below four, to 3.96. Since the break, it’s 2.95. The Pirates got two runs, one unearned, in the eighth, and Ray King came in to get the last two outs.
Matt Franco started at first base, indicating that maybe Bobby is starting to think about making a move. However, he was 0-4, and the possibility of a all-Julio first base situation is rearing its ugly head. Is it possible Mike Hessman is the Braves’ best first baseman?
Hampton pitches in a day game tomorrow… The Magic Number is ten, and it the Phillies are beating the Mets in the ninth so it probably stays that way.
It occurs to me that Fick, Franco, and Hessman would kill for Julio Franco’s OBP now.
Maddux’s rebound this season is nothing short of remarkable. After allowing 18 earned runs in his first 14.2 innings, he’s gone 14-7, 3.39 since, a span of 183 innings of good baseball following one truly putrid start.
Of course, if he could have a 3-3 day at the plate in his next start, he’d also have a BA higher than his catcher’s…
Actually, Hessman’s got a heck of an OBP right now, .533. Of course, that’s in fifteen plate appearances. OTOH, he’s walked three whole times. That’s a month for him in the minors.
How’s this… Fick’s slump is so bad that Julio now has caught him in slugging percentage.