See, that’s all we needed. A little more Kelly Johnson, a lot less Mondesi — seven runs! Johnson, hitting third and playing left field, was 0-3 with a walk, but hit the ball hard, drove in a run with a fielder’s choice and scored, and also threw out a runner at the plate to end the sixth. He made a rookie mistake, getting deked at second on a fly ball by LaRoche and getting doubled up from left field, but all in all not the worst of debuts.
It’s unclear what the outfield situation is right now. Langerhans started in right (he tripled in two runs) and has the best arm of the corner outfielders. It may be that the job-sharing arrangement between Jordan and the two rookie lefty hitters will be on a case-by-case basis. I don’t know if Jordan’s arm is up for right field.
Tim Hudson had some control issues, walking an atypical five men in seven innings. But other than Mike Lieberthal (who doubled and homered) he kept the balls on the ground, got a couple of double plays and kept the game in hand.
Foster and Reitsma pitched the eighth, when the game was still in doubt, 4-2. The rain started falling heavily in the bottom of the eighth and the Braves got three runs thanks largely to bad defense (including a dropped fly ball by Lofton that warmed my heart) so Dan Kolb got to pitch in a Dan Kolb situation, a five run lead even he would have trouble blowing. In his continuing metamorphosis into Mitch Williams, he struck out two and walked one. Kolb in May has pitched 9 2/3, walked nine, struck out twelve, allowed two homers, and gave up five runs. It’s like he’s a completely different pitcher from the guy from Milwaukee.
Chipper hit cleanup and was the only position starter other than Johnson and LaRoche without a hit, but walked twice. Furcal continued his good hitting of late with a couple of hits, and Marcus hit a long homer in the first.
The Marlins, after trailing early, came back to beat the Mets and stay in a tie with the Braves for first. It was a very odd weekend in which the teams that were just swept by one division leader came back to almost sweep the other. As it is, the whole division is now separated by only five games. The Braves now head to Washington for four. Tomorrow is a Memorial Day afternoon game on TBS and ESPN, Davies versus Tomo Okha. Hampton is due to return Tuesday.
Goodbye Raul Mondesi. You will not be missed. Say hi to Rico Brogna for us.