Atlanta 4, San Diego 2

ESPN.com – MLB – MLB RECAP

Boy, this Damon Hollins guy is pretty good. I wonder where he’s been for the last five years?

Hollins played left field with Wise in right with Drew out of the lineup again (with a sore neck) and drove in three runs, one in the second, one in the fourth, and one in the sixth. Okay, he only had one hit, but he’s doing pretty well.

The Braves were playing not only without Drew or Chipper but also Rafael Furcal, so they needed a good pitching performance. They got it from Ortiz, who went 6 2/3, allowing one run on four hits and two walks, striking out five. Gryboski finished the seventh, and Reitsma pitched the eighth. Smoltz was shaky in the ninth, allowing the other Padre run, but settled down.

Johnny Estrada had three more hits, hitting cleanup. So far, he looks like a pretty good Javy replacement. Adam LaRoche had two hits, and the Braves as a team had only seven.

Jaret Wright starts tomorrow against David Wells, assuming the latter can climb the mound. The Phillies lost, and the Marlins are in extras right now against the Dodgers… Chipper might be back any day. Maybe he’ll do a rehab assignment, maybe he won’t; accounts differ. The AJC says yes.

16 thoughts on “Atlanta 4, San Diego 2”

  1. Estrada is blowing me away with his performance this year. At some level he has to return to earth; but at another level, he’s continuing a level of performance he demonstrated last year. One has to wonder if he took a major step forward in his development.

    As for that hitting lineup – what was that, last year’s Richmond lineup plus Marcus, DeRosa and Andruw? Geez.

  2. Big ups to Ortiz. After the San Fran dibocle, it’s good to see him bounce back for a needed win. Johnny “Bluejeans” Estrada is making a case for an all-star appearance, but what is going on with the inexplicable passed balls/wild pitches?

  3. Great pitching by Russ Ortiz. With the killer D’s in the outfield I thought he’d have to pitch a no hitter. Of course Damon does some nice situational hitting and Wise shows his defensive range even though he almost got crushed by Andruw in the process.

    Estrada is hitting so well. Lets enjoy it while we can. His offensive value is almost all Batting avg. When the slump comes he won’t get on base very much. The catching was alluded to by Joe Simpson on the broadcast. Apparently he needs to block and not backhand those errant splits and sinkers.

    Looks like our Nasty boys are Grybowski, Reitsma and Smoltz. When we are losing we throw Base12 and Nitkowski. Mop up looks like Cunnane and Cruz. Hey what ever works. Tonight was a good game.

  4. I don’t know if this was addressed on TV or not, but he most unusual thing about this game: the two players that weren’t supposed to start tonight–Hollins and Garcia–drove in all the Braves runs. I don’t know if that is a good or a bad thing.

    Gryboski actually worked 2/3 of an inning inducing a double-play to erase the inherited Jay Payton.

    Chipper was in the house the whole night watching from the top steps with the coaches. He might make a Rome appearance since he seems to want to stay close to the team right now. That is if he rehabs at all. I’d go ahead and buy my tix if I lived in that area.

  5. Yeah, Chipper in class A would be a sight to behold.

    Hey, Benitez blew the save for the Marlins tonight (was down to two outs, two strikes in the bottom of 9 with a one-run lead), and they lost in extras. Braves only 1.5 games out of first now, with Phillies slipping to 1.5 back of Braves, 3 out overall.

    Go Jaret…

  6. I agree with the comment about Estrada’s batting average. There have been several jam shots and bleeders among his hits — some of those are bound to get caught. That said, he looks like a legit .280 hitter, and his throwing has improved greatly. Despite the passed balls, you can win with a guy like that. Just so long as he’s not your cleanup hitter….

  7. Johnny seems to be the antithesis of Javy as a hitter in that he seems to make adjustments readily and can put the ball in play on just about anything the pitcher throws.

    Nice AB by Hollins when he was down 0-2 and came back with the chopper to drive in a run.

    This is a funky Braves’ team.

  8. Anbody notice that Andruw was just named to ESPN’s “All-hustle” team? Didn’t Bobby run out to CF to confront him and pull him from the game a couple of years ago for dogging a play?

  9. Yeah he did. I think it was back in ’98. Not to mention the fact that Andruw leads the team in GIDP, and more than once, he seemed to dog it on his way to first on those potential double plays.

  10. Also not to mention the extra poundage that Andruw has packed on over the years. I think the rationale for including him was “He makes playing CF look so easy, that we have to compensate for that by assuming he is really hustling.” I love watching him play and tend to agree with the Caple viewpoint, namely I watch to see people excel, not to see people do mundane things but try really hard…

  11. I think Andruw does hustle a lot of the time. (I also think he’s lost most of the weight. The uniform isn’t very flattering on him.) When they need him to really make a play, he will. What he lacks is false hustle, trying to run out grounders or make plays look difficult. He actually reminds me of Aaron that way.

  12. What you people aren’t considering is the fact that Andruw plays every day. It’s not that he doesn’t get hurt, everyone does. It’s that he wants to play. The announcers touched on this. He plays hurt and sometimes if he doesn’t seem to be running 100% it’s because he doesn’t want to hurt himself. What do you people want? There’s no reason for him to bust his ass and be out for 2 weeks trying to beat out a ground ball that he has no chance on anyway. He saves the hustle for when it counts and when it can make a difference.

  13. I don’t mean to cast aspersions on Andruw’s play- I can appreciate Mac’s point about the lack of “false hustle,” especially. I just thought he was an odd choice for the “All-Hustle” team given that episode where he got yanked for dogging a play some years ago.

  14. I think 98 was a pretty frustrating year for Andruw. He was 21 years old and barely hitting his weight. I remember a lot of people were on his case from the fans–who demanded he be traded when he didn’t hit right away–to Bobby Cox. Even Hank Aaron had to call him into his office to straighten him out at one point. Whatever his problem was then, he’s obviously grown out of it.

    Andruw’s one of those rare guys nowadays with enough natural grace to avoid serious injuries on and off the field even though he plays hard. Very easy to appreciate when you’ve got a guy on the same team who recently injured himself while asleep. Not that I’m complaining. If that’s the worst thing that happens to “Old No. 7” the rest of the season I’ll be overjoyed.

  15. I don’t mean to cast aspersions on Andruw’s play- I can appreciate Mac’s point about the lack of “false hustle,” especially. I just thought he was an odd choice for the “All-Hustle” team given that episode where he got yanked for dogging a play some years ago.

    Loafergate was so long ago that the only people around to remember it are Chipper, Smoltz, the coaches, and the fans. Implying that Andruw doesn’t hustle for something that happened that long ago would be like voting Mark McGwire to the All Star team this year because, hey, he once hit 70.

  16. I think Andruw has a few more pounds to lose before he gets back to his previous form. Just check the double chin he has going. I think the uniform is not too flatering but it also hides a lot of Andruw’s shape. As for not hustling on plays that don’t matter, when can he be sure there is no chance? It seems to me most of the time a player isn’t hustling but the defense flubs the play it is Andruw who is on the receiving end of the out. Many times (already this year) I’ve watched Andruw dog it, the defense blow the play, but have plenty of time to recover because he is dogging. I say hustle all the time because you never know what is going to happen. Andruw needs to take notice of what happened to Javy last year when he decided to become “lean and mean”.

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