The game was closer than that score indicates. The Braves took a 4-1 lead in the third and a 5-1 lead in the fifth, but the Giants had trimmed it to 5-3 heading into the ninth. Then the Braves exploded for seven runs in an inning where 12 men — well, 9 men, three of them twice — came to bat.
Several Braves had big games. Marcus Giles had three doubles and scored twice. Johnny Estrada had three hits, missing the cycle by the triple, and drove in three. Andruw and Drew also had three hits. Even Wise had two, including one off the leg of pitcher Jason Christiansen that knocked him out of the game.
Jaret Wright gave up two runs in 6 2/3. I don’t think he really pitched that well. He gave up eight hits, walked three, and struck out only two. But the Giants couldn’t take advantage. Reitsma allowed a run in the eighth, and Smoltz pitched the ninth. Might as well, since he was already warmed up.
Giles left the game after getting HBP in the ninth, and was pinch-run for by Mike Hampton. I don’t think it’s serious; he was going to leave the game for Jesse Garcia anyway. Obviously, the Braves can’t afford to lose Marcus — whom I think we can now safely call their best player — for any length of time. Tonight’s game sees Ortiz versus Brett Tomko. If you don’t have Sportssouth, it’s on ESPN2, unless there’s a hockey game that goes into quadruple overtime or something.
I’m starting to become quietly optimistic. About the offense that is. Andruw’s patience is really quite impressive right now. Could this be the year he walks more than he strikes out? I know some people worried about Derosa, but his patience was a good indicator as well. Compared to Laroche, I’d rather see someone walk more, be patient, then rake the ball when better opportunities come. I think that’s how Derosa’s season started. johnny estrada’s power numbers have been quite impressive. now, let’s just pray that Larry Wayne returns healthy and we can return Larry Dewayne back to richmond.
the pitching staff and the overabundance of pitchers walking more batters than they are striking out is quite worrysome. The team’s gb/fb ration leads the majors as well as being sixth in fewest homers allowed. Free Juan Cruz!
Props also to Mr. Hessman for a couple of fine defensive plays at first base. If he can play that kind of quality defense over there and get on base now and again, the Braves’ll be happy.
And yeah, Marcus and Drew are both looking really good at the plate about now. Estrada too. Marcus is actually hiting .400, and April is almost over. Good man!
Many of you perhaps do not realize that in addition to impersonating a major league first baseman, Mike Hessman is a stage and screen actor. He once was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Evil Nazi category but lost out to former UNC coach Matt Daugherty.
In unrelated news, Aaron Gleeman has a funny piece on Franco today:
Herr Hessman actually appears to have some athletic ability. He’s not Bolshoi material, but he hops around fairly well out there.
I used to call him Hessman Prynne with the Scarlett Letter “K,” but I like the new angle.
If the guy could do more with the bat, he would be a cinch to stick around for 5 or 6 years. Maybe he still can.
Yahoo is reporting that Eli Marrero has been DL’ed, Damon Hollins called up in his place.
James Jurries was promoted to AAA today – he was really tearing apart AA, with 7 bombs already. Still, he’s already older than LaRoche, and it’s not like we need more help at first. I think he can play 3rd, but was letting Marte have the spot in Greenville.
I thought Marrero had the flu. Who goes on the DL for the flu? Nick Esasky?
I like Jurries (who turned 25 two weeks ago) more than I probably should. I actually heard someone compare him to Edgar Martinez once. Hey, Edgar didn’t get to the majors to stay until he was 27, but that’s a stretch. I think he can be Brian Daubach at least, though, and that’s not bad. He was repeating AA, though; let’s see how he does in Richmond.
I also like Jurries. He appears to be a player–or more accurately a bat–in search of a position. I believe that he played about 4 different positions at Tulane, but without making a real claim on any of them. He has been criticized for his defense, yet it is evident that he can hit. Given that the Braves used Jurries as a 3B last year (and given that 3B will be Marte’s), I wonder if they started him at Greenville in 2004 to get re-acquainted with first base.
If he does anything at Richmond, I would not be surprised to see him in Atlanta by the end of the year.