Let’s face it, Dan Kolb has moved well beyond “shaky closer” status and all the way to “just plain bad pitcher”. He picked up what, remarkably, was only his third blown save of the year last night when he came in with a 2-1 lead and immediately walked Ryan Klesko on four pitches, gave up a hit-and-run single to Brian Giles after actually getting ahead of him, got one out on a chopper to score the tying run, then a single, intentional walk, single, game.
Yet again, a terrific outing by John Smoltz was wasted, this time eight innings of one-run ball. He took a shutout to the eighth before giving up his lone run. For the game, he allowed but four hits and two walks, striking out five.
Chipper missed the game with a muscle sprain and is, of course, day to day. Wilson Betemit filled in more than admirably, going 2-4 — the only Brave with more than one hit — and making a genuinely fine defensive play on a swinging bunt. He hit probably the second and third hardest balls of the night for the Braves, a liner that hit the first base bag for an “infield single” that could have been a double, and a long drive to center that might have gone out of most parks but was just a noisy out. Andruw hit the hardest, a rocket to left for his tenth homer, but popped up in his other three at-bats.
Raul Mondesi failed to get Estrada from second to third with none out in the ninth and a 2-1 lead. Afterwards, not only were the announcers critical but the director was calling him out, putting him on screen whenever the subject of just having a one-run lead came up. The theory some have had in comments that the broadcasters want Mondesi gone is looking pretty good. He did draw a walk and score the game’s first run, but the rest of the time was pretty much himself.
The Braves try to salvage something from this series today, but Ramirez versus Adam Eaton isn’t nearly the mismatch the first two games looked like. At least the Marlins and Natspos lost.