Magic Number: 3. No thanks to Reitsma.
John Thomson had a great start, going seven innings, allowing just one run, five hits, and one walk, and struck out nine. He even had a hit. Reitsma, for some reason, was used in the eighth, and immediately gave up hits to the first two batters, who both scored, making it a 5-3 Braves game. Then Smoltz got the first two batters in the ninth, but allowed three straight hits to make it 5-4 before getting out of it. I’m not comfortable at all with the way the bullpen is pitching.
The Braves had eighteen baserunners — twelve hits, five walks, and an error. Julio had a great game, going 3-5, scoring a run, and driving one in. Giles, Marrero, and Perez all had two hits. They left thirteen men on base, which is way too many.
The Marlins lost to the Phillies, falling to 9 1/2 back. The Phillies, in their turn, will be eliminated with their next loss or the Braves’ next win. (But they were supposed to win! It’s not fair!) The Braves lead the Dodgers by two games for the second-best record in the league… Tomorrow, Paul Byrd faces Josh Hancock. Hancock has a 4.61 ERA, but that’s the fifth-best on the Reds. Their pitching’s pretty bad.
The Braves officially owe John Smoltz $12 million for next season after tonight so start making bets now on which big name(s) will be traded this off season to maintain the status quo. It may even be Smoltzie himself.
And the sooner the Braves wrap this sucker up the better. The bullpen needs rest or we’ll never make it through the first round. I still think it goes back to that stretch in late July when Smoltz was pitching every single night that has contributed to his current struggles.
John Thompson seems to be making a case for a postseason rotation spot. I feel like we’ve got the best shot with Wright and Byrd somewhere in the three-man rotation, but I sure that Ortiz and Hampton are already Bobby’s sentimental favorites so we’ll see.
The problem is that, while all of the pitchers have had good runs at one time or another, you can’t really be sure who will be hot in the playoffs. The Braves claim that they will go with whoever’s turn in the rotation comes up, but I just can’t believe they wouldn’t try to get the hot guys up. But, the Braves make lots of bizaare decisions in post-season.
By the way, I believe the magic number is 2 not 3. The Braves would win a tie with the Marlins b/c of winning the season series and the most the Marlins can win now is 91.
It doesn’t work that way. If both teams would make the playoffs anyway (one as the champion, the other as the wildcard) then the tiebreaker would decide the champion. But if someone else is the wildcard there would be a playoff for the division title and playoff berth.
You’re right. Thanks for straigtening me out.
Wow, that Smoltz contract just looks worse and worse. I was stunned that JS offered him so much at the time, and am now going to be disgusted if it prevents us from retaining Drew next year.