This is a horrible nightmare. I’m going to wake up and then it will go away.
No, didn’t work.
Johnny Estrada was leveled by Darrin Erstad when blocking the plate (trying to cut off the game-tying run) in the eighth. It looks like a concussion, though obviously I don’t know. There’s a good chance that either Marte or Johnson is going to have to go down to make room for a catcher, assuming that Estrada doesn’t go on the DL.
Smoltz was actually perfect for 4 2/3 innings, and took a shutout to the sixth. So, of course, he lost. He wound up allowing 13 hits in 8 1/3, including a couple of doubles, to a pretty weak Angels lineup. (Vlad Guerrero is on the DL.) John Foster came in to finish the ninth.
The Braves offense started well. They got some hits and were working the counts, and sooner or later would score some runs that way. LaRoche hit a two-run homer in the fourth to give them the lead. And then, it was like they started thinking, “Okay, we have a lead, time for me to try to hit a homer.” Furcal, who worked the count and had two hits in his first two AB, decided to swing wildly from then on. When they did get runners on, they’d strike out; the sixth, eighth, and ninth innings all ended with strikeouts with runners in scoring position.
Betemit got the start at third and continued to look good at the plate, doubling twice. Not so good on the basepaths; after leading off the third with his first double, he was picked off, which probably cost the Braves at least one run. It’s typical that the one guy who’s doing really well would have to sit to make room for Marte. I’m of the play Betemit at short school now, but I’m really cheesed at Furcal.
Horacio versus Paul Byrd tomorrow. Who will get hurt next?