I hate Dan Kolb. For the second time in less than a week, he had a lead and then started walking people. Against the Natspos, he almost got out of it. Tonight, he might have gotten out of it again except that he not only can’t pitch, he can’t field. After walking the first two hitters of the tenth, he fielded a bunt and had a chance to throw the runner out at third, but instead threw the ball into left field, allowing the run to score. Then he couldn’t pick up the next bunt, either. Gryboski came in and allowed the winning run on a single that might have been an out under normal circumstances. When I’m screaming for Reitsma, you know that Kolb sucks. I’m screaming for Reitsma.
The Braves couldn’t do squat against Brett Myers for seven innings (at that stage, he indeed had given up just two hits) but almost scored in the eighth; Johnny Estrada (who’d hit for Perez) was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Hampton’s double. In the ninth, off of Billy Wagner, Giles doubled with one out then stole third without a throw, but Chipper struck out and Andruw was thrown out at first by a step because he still can’t get out of the box any faster than a tortoise. They finally broke through in the tenth, Mondesi scoring Orr (running for LaRoche) on a sac fly. Even that was tempered by the Braves’ failure to get more. They had runners first and third, nobody out, and Jordan could have stolen second easily (they were barely holding him and the second baseman and shortstop were way off the bag) but he just stood there. I don’t get it. Then Bobby let Kolb, who miraculously hadn’t given up a run in the ninth, hit for himself. He sucked at that, too.
The Good Hampton is still in the house. He only struck out one, but only allowed five baserunners, three hits (only one a double, and Andruw almost caught that one) and two walks. Plus he almost had a game-winning hit. He left having thrown 100 pitches. I’m basically Captain Hook, but I don’t understand why Bobby pulled him on a cool night when he was pitching so well and the closer sucks, especially since he’s a better hitter than half the lineup right now. (Actually, he’s hitting .500 on the season, so he’s better than just about everyone right now.)
Marcus had two doubles; the doubling machine is scraped up a little but functional. But Furcal and the Joneses were all 0-4, and the Braves can’t win doing that. In the last two games of the series, the Braves had five extra-base hits, all doubles, and no walks. You just can’t win this way.
The good news is that I won’t be able to recap the upcoming Washtreal series because my net access is going to be sporadic Tuesday through Thursday nights. Bamadan, a frequent commenter, will step in this time. Maybe, like Creg, he’ll bring better luck. And maybe Reitsma will have the closer job soon; the ESPN announcers were openly saying that the Braves maybe needed a new closer after the game. Here’s hoping.