Start of game: I normally use the Sportsline webcast of games these days. One thing they do is list each team’s available bench players. Why do the all-but-out-of-it Phillies have two more bench players than the Braves? Is Time Warner really that cheap that they can’t allow a couple more pinch-hitters?
3:42: Abreu really shouldn’t be stealing in that situation. With two out and first base empty, and a mediocre righthanded hitter (David Bell) on deck, Wright has to say to himself, “Hey, I don’t have to throw anything good to Thome here!” The extra value of the base is pretty low, since Thome doesn’t hit all that many singles. What winds up happening is that Wright got to nibble and Thome struck out. Abreu’s a terrific player, but he made a mistake there.
I am told that Willie Mays, in the sixties, wouldn’t try to take second on possible doubles because he knew the pitcher would just walk McCovey. And if they got McCovey out, Willie could always steal second.
3:48: Marcus on on a HBP. I wonder, if there were a beanball war — the Braves and Phillies have had them in the past — who would get plunked in retaliation. The other second baseman is a rookie, Utley. I think Marcus is of a higher stature. Bell, maybe? And what does it say about me that I think of such things?
3:52: Is Chipper pressing a little to get to 100 RBI? A popup to shortstop? The best thing for him at this stage might be to fall too far off the pace to catch up.
3:56: Green in for Marcus, so presumably he was injured by the pitch. Hopefully it’s not serious; at any rate, Bell and Utley both survive their first PAs unscathed, Utley singling with one out. Ground ball here, please.
4:04: Since I obviously can’t actually see it, I can only guess that Utley got to third because he was running on the 3-2 pitch. It paid off, because he scores on a sac fly by Doug “The Second Pitcher” Glanville. 1-0 Phillies. Grr.
4:18: This makes no sense:
Abreu grounded into double play second to first to catcher, Rollins out at third.
So, I’m guessing what happened is that Rollins rounded third (either thinking the ball got through, or just being aggressive) and LaRoche threw him out at home. Maybe he was so far away that he ran back and Estrada chased him back?
4:23: I was about to write a sarcastic comment about how even if there was a doubleheader the Braves didn’t have to rush through this game. Then Furcal fouled off five pitches in a row. It came to nothing, but it’s a start.
4:30: Wright is throwing a lot of pitches. He’s at 60 now, with one out in the fourth… Okay, 61, and two out. Anyway, at that pace he’s not likely to make it past the sixth even if he keeps from giving up any more runs.
4:36: Hey, a hit! An extra-base hit at that! Okay, Chipper, all you need is a single.
4:37: Hmm, he doesn’t get the chance. How intentional was that walk?
4:39: AAAARRRRGGGHHHH!!!! Remember when Estrada was the guy you wanted at the plate in that situation?
4:44: Great, we’re getting killed by Mike Freaking Lieberthal again. At least he isn’t likely to play in the nightcap.
4:47: I have to go for awhile. Hopefully Wright can strand the baserunner. See you in twenty minutes, half an hour.
5:13: Adam! LaRoche hits a two-run homer to tie it up. (And Bobby doesn’t hit for Wright, who had thrown exactly 100 pitches, with one out and the bases empty.) And while I type, Nick! Triples in Furcal, the Braves take the lead!
Wait a minute, Wright gave up a hit to Padilla to allow the second run? Ugh. They brought the infield in, didn’t they?
5:25: And all Wright does is go out and have his best inning, throwing just eleven pitches, and finally getting Lieberthal. I have to think that’s it for the day for him.
Hey, Abreu got ejected? All right! How did Bowa not get ejected?
5:37: 1-2-3 in the seventh for the Phillies. Ten pitches for Alfonseca, or whatever the figure is in Base 12.
5:42: Sportsline still doesn’t have a portrait photo of DeWayne Wise and is using what looks like a spring training at-bat picture. Make of that what you will.
5:47: Reitsma walks the leadoff man. There is at least a fifty percent chance he gives up a homer to Burrell here.
5:49: No, just a single. Reitsma is awful right now. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’d prefer Gryboski.
This is our lefty specialist?!??!?