More extra innings, this time successfully. The Braves loaded the bases in the tenth and Johnny Estrada drove home Eli Marrero with a game-winning sacrifice fly.
Marcus Giles really did pinch-hit (Nick Green started) only to bunt in the eighth. I’m guessing that he was bunting again in the tenth (one on, none out) when he was walked. Furcal did bunt after that, but reached. I am not a fan of bunting with your best hitters, as you might guess.
Russ Ortiz had a good start but gets a no decision. He allowed one run (Tike Redman, again, scored it) in the third, six hits, four walks, and struck out five in eight innings. Why he couldn’t have stayed in to pinch-hit, I don’t know. Smoltz loaded the bases in the ninth but got out of it when they actually did turn the double play for once. Reitsma pitched the tenth to get the win.
With Estrada and Giles both taking the game off (to begin with) and Thomas suddenly looking human, the Braves’ offense is scuffling again. The Braves had only six hits and two walks. LaRoche was the only one to have two hits.
The Phillies lost after a desperate effort by the Marlins’ middle relief to blow a 10-3 lead. The Mets also lost. The division standings:
ATL 50 45 —
PHL 50 45 —
FLA 48 47 2
NYM 47 48 3
MTL 34 61 16
The Braves and Phillies are 2 1/2 behind the Giants and Padres for the wildcard lead, one behind the Cubs. The NL remains basically the Cardinals followed by a bunch of teams all in the hunt (though the Dodgers have gained a little separation) then three really awful clubs.
I went out today with a couple Pirates fans.
Maybe it made Sportscenter, but Andruw made a super catch on a short fly in the middle innings, and Ortiz seemed to get a runner on 1st and 2nd every inning and then get some sap to hit into a double play.
I don’t like bringing Smoltz into a tie like that.
Giles was bunting again in the 10th. But most importantly: the Saw won the tool race!
Look to see Marrero get more at bats. The rest of the league has figured out what gets Thomas out. He is now getting a steady diet of Andruw pitches (translation: sliders). I first noticed it the last game of the Montreal series, where he struck out twice. The upside is he will be a great late inning replacement.
Marrero, on the other hand, has not struck out in his last 35 ABs, only has one game where he struck out more than once, and has only 16 strikeouts in 129 ABs. His BA is up over 40 points since the 1st of July.
I actually think Ryan Langerhans will end up being our 4th outfielder sometime down the road; he’s having a good season this year, approximately .300/.400/.500 BA/OBP/SLG, though with a lot of strikeouts. He’s a good defender and hits for more power than Chuck Thomas, and I *think* he’s lefthanded (but could easily be wrong).
Stress, that tool race always inspires me to immediately spend a couple thou at Home Depot, how bout you?