The Marlins are 1-5 against the Braves, and 11-1 against everyone else. Go figure. The Braves are two games behind the Marlins, two and a half up on the Phillies. At any rate, rumors of the Braves’ demise seem to have been exaggerated. Last night, they became the first team this year to score against Dontrelle Willis, and when the Marlins rallied to tie the game, JD Drew broke it open with a bases-loaded
inside the park homer triple, coming home to score on an error.
John Thomson had another strong start, allowing two runs in seven innings, striking out seven and walking two. He could easily have had a shutout; both runs scored on two-out singles. His control wasn’t quite as sharp as it’s been, and he needed 116 pitches to make it through seven, but it was a good start nonetheless.
Mark DeRosa, hitting second when Eli Marrero was scratched, had a big night, homering in the first and singling home a run in the second. He also scored in front of Drew’s seventh-inning triple off the centerfield wall, and drove in his third run with a sac fly in the eighth. Drew slid down to the sixth spot against Willis, and didn’t seem to handle him very well, but the triple came off another lefty, reliever Tommy Phelps.
Even with a five-run lead, Bobby broke out Reitsma and Smoltz to finish it. It seems to me that the rule now is that the good relievers will pitch when the Braves are ahead, and the bad ones when they’re behind, even if the lead is five runs and the deficit only one. I don’t get it myself. If nothing else, it would have been a chance to get Juan Cruz some work in.
Thanks to ESPN, the Braves flew out late last night on their way to San Francisco, where they start a three-game series late tonight. All three games in the series are scheduled for 10:15 ET just to guarantee that no Braves fans can see them.
I don’t know what you’re talking about, Mac. I love west coast game times. I remember fondly staying up past my “bed-time” in my room as a young’un, listening to WSB 750 on my walkman/headphones.
I also really look forward to these series now cuz it means I can get the regular ‘evening’ stuff done, like fixing dinner and such, and then once it seems like the night is winding down, one settles in for a nice braves telecast.
Plus, time to watch Superman. I know there’s a lot of talk about Bonds and people have some strong feelings about him that dont have to do with the baseball diamond, but I’ll tell you, we should really all do ourselves a favor and watch what is going on. Nobody has ever done what he is doing, and it may not happen again. Bring it on!
Word I’ve read in the Braves newsgroup is that Julio has an ear infection and didn’t depart with the team. So, another not-on-the-DL absence for the skimpy bench.
Nice game overall. The defense has settled considerably in the last week or so, and hte pitching has generally responded. Thomson so far looks like the genius pickup of the offseason.
ESPN’s camera work on that triple was just terrible. An exciting play and they had no good shots for abut five minutes, then one of Drew coming down and around third, and that was it.
I like what Joe Morgan said about Marcus being a number 3 hitter, plus for whatever reason Derosa seems to hit better in the 2 hole. A lineup with Derosa, Giles, Chipper, Andruw and Drew going 2-6 doesn’t seem so bad. Derosa would see more fastballs hitting behind Furcal so he would seem to be less likely to go fishing out of the strikezone. Estrada and Laroche as number 7 and 8 hitters would be pretty formidible as well.
I’d have to agree with you on moving DeRosa to the 2 spot. He does seem to hit way better. As for Giles, he seems to have evolved over last year and into this year into a prototypical three spot hitter (good average, lots of doubles, decent power). The problem here is that Chipper hates batting clean-up, and his numbers usually suffer once they stick him in there. The other problem is that DeRo probably strikes out too much. Hopefully, he starts to pick up his average (I think he can hit .280). A lot of his problems seem to be mental. Sometimes I think he wonders if he is good enough to be the starter. Hopefully, nights like he had last night will convince him.
In an unrelated note…if Julio is really not travelling to SF, then the bench is really going to be hurting. That leaves Garcia, Perez, Eli Marrerro who was too hurt to play last night, and Chipper Jones who is limited to pinch hitting. Looks like there’s not going to be too many double switches for Bobby.
I made the suggestion that we should move DeRosa to the 2-hole before the season started–but Mac and some other guys convinced me it wasn’t a good idea. You’re taking at bats away from better players. I’m still not convinced that DeRosa is the answer, but we should keep him at third for now and see how it plays out. Especially with his recent performance.
On ESPN.com, Jack McKeon is quoted as saying “They’re not beating the heck out of us” and “I don’t think anybody’s intimidated.” I dunno Jack. Two 5 run victories in the series seems pretty decisive to me. But you wouldn’t be such a good manager if you didn’t try to paint a brighter picture for your team. Look out though. You haven’t exactly faced a murderers row in the likes of the Phillies and Expos. There’s no indication that your 11-1 record against “everyone else” is going to hold up.
Meanwhile, the Braves are errorless in 8 straight games!
Happy trails, Russell Branyan. We hardly knew ye.
Why no mention of the branyon trade to Cleveland?
DeRosa in the second spot until Chipper comes back is a good idea. Not much of an avg. but obp is .360 with 10 walks. Once Chip is back then back to Marcus at 2nd in the order because he has an even better obp than DeRo.
John Thompson is a battler. I really like his velocity and movement. So far a great pickup. He may be our best pitcher so far this year.
I say Grybowski warming up for the 7th before JT make it through. I guess Juan has ticked Bobby off and we are stuck with Base12 when we are behind.
I like the way the team is playing now. I hope that we can do this against other teams than the Marlins.
I think DeRosa’s improved hitting has more to do with improvement in general than his place in the order. Chipper worked on his swing with him and the effects are obvious. He’s staying back more, keeping his shoulder back, and looking to drive the ball to the opposite field. I’ve always said DeRosa could be a .300 hitter. He should talk to Marcus about his philosphy at the plate, I think a similar approach is the best way for DeRosa to go.
>>> He should talk to Marcus about his philosphy at the plate, I think a similar approach is the best way for DeRosa to go.
There’s no point in whining about a 10pm start for the games on the west coast…that’s 7pm local time for those who live out there. Asking them to start the game at 4 because people 4,000 miles away demand it is beyond silly.
And yes, I live in Atlanta.