Well, the Bad Maddux put in an appearance, as you see. Hopefully, it’s just a cameo. Two in the first, three in the third, two more in the fourth. I didn’t think he was pitching that badly in the first inning — there was some shaky umpiring and some bad luck. The Phillies had four infield singles against Maddux, three of them leading to runs. I don’t think you can hold infield singles against a pitcher, but on the other hand there were eight other hits including a homer.
The key moment for the Braves might have been in the bottom of the first, when Giles doubled but was subsequently called out at third trying to steal with one out and Sheffield at the plate. (And the Braves already trailing 2-0.) Bobby was thrown out arguing the call. I thought Marcus was clearly safe — the throw beat him but the tag was right between his arms and never moved — but what was he doing stealing third with Sheffield batting? Gary then tripled, but Chipper grounded out to the pitcher. It’s quite possible that if Marcus had stayed put the Braves could have tied the game in the first, and who knows what happens after that? As it was, the Braves didn’t score until the fifth, when they were already down 8-0.
Marcus doubled again later in the game and now has 47. Matt Franco had a pinch-hit homer in the fifth with Vinny on, and Robert Fick was 0-3 and is 9-for his last-72. Just saying.
The Braves travel to Florida for three. It’s possible that they could clinch in that series, but that would mean they’d have to sweep, plus the Phillies would have to lose two to the Pirates. I’d settle for two out of three and a clinch in Montreal.