Well, you can’t win them all. Not against a team as good as the Marlins, anyway. Mike Hampton allowed four runs in the first and the Braves never could get caught up. It was 4-3 going to the bottom of the seventh, but Hampton got tired, then Base12 came in to make sure that the Marlins could blow the game open, allowing two inherited runs and a run all his own. I don’t get it.
The Braves actually outhit the Marlins, 14-13, and there weren’t lots of walks or power to mix things up either. The Marlins just bunched a lot of their hits in the first and seventh, and the Braves couldn’t get the one hit with runners on to get over the hump. JD Drew had a big game, with four hits, Johnny Estrada had three, and Andruw hit his fourth homer of the year.
Hampton’s ERA for the year is now 8.41. I think we can be worried… Sunday Night game tomorrow, John Thomson against Dontrelle Willis, whom the Braves missed last time. Willis is 3-0 with no runs allowed in 19 1/3 innings to start the season. He’s also 6-8 with a double and a homer. Jeez.
The Braves had chances but just couldn’t get the key hit. Is Eli Marrero horrible or what. He has a bingo number for a batting average.
Another day, another soul-sucking, rally-killing GIDP for Andruw.
As to El Guapo, he’s pretty much the exact same pitcher as Roberto Hernandez, and Bobby seems to like that kind of pitcher for reasons I have given up trying to fathom.
I hope Franco’s okay; the poor old guy looked like he was having a stroke.
I’m not questioning Hampton’s commitment to the Braves, but I wonder how much it weighs in the back of his mind that the Marlins are paying him a lot more money this season than the Braves are.
The scary part is that the Braves have barely begun to pay their part of Hampton’s contract. The Braves will pay Hampton a cool 43 mil, guaranteed, from 2006-2008, when he has about as much chance of being a top-flight pitcher as I do. With the Braves now operating within a tighter budget, this is a real albatross. Get your tickets now for the big Cox/Schuerholz Retirement Jam, scheduled for November, 2005!
Lets not forget the defense shown by Estrada this first month of the season. He was promised to be an excellent receiver, but he has had several passed balls (some wrongly labeled as WPs). He also is terrible at blocking balls in the dirt.
And hasn’t he thrown out only one baserunner?
Still, his offense has been pretty good – 288/351/423 ain’t the recent model Javy, but that’s a fine line to be getting from your catcher (especially your cheap catcher). And in this lineup that catcher is outhitting our guys at 1B, 3B, SS and the guys filling in in the OF.
Sure am glad we signed Eli to that contract extension.
It seems to me that Hampton still struggles with his confidence early on in games. Like he pitches tentatively in the first inning and then starts to pitch agressively after he’s recorded a couple of outs. I hope that’s just the residue of his Coors Field days working its way out of his system so he’ll be an elite pitcher by the time the Braves are paying him to be one. I really don’t expect it will take him as long to get on a roll this year as it did last year.
I agree that Hampton’s problems may be mental, but I’m not sure it’s due to Coors shellshock. This is purely anecdotal, but I went to Game 2 of the ’97 NLDS vs. Houston. Hampton was the Astros starter, and I went to watch him warm up before the game. Obviously a pressure situation, and he couldn’t even throw a strike in the bullpen. Sure enough, he walked 8 in 4.2 innings and gave up 6 runs on just 2 hits.
Sure, that was a long time ago, but combined with his Coors Field meltdown and his Wohlers-esque shot-put throws to first, along with his generally clenched-jaw demeanor, and he seems like a guy who puts a lot of pressure on himself, and doesn’t react to it well.
I don’t know, Hampton was good in New York (back when the Mets were actually competitive). Those fans put a lot of pressure their players. I personally like Hampton and I think he will be alright.