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.