– MLB – Box Score – Braves at Cardinals

That could have gone better. If the Braves can’t beat the Cardinals when they’re crippled (no Walker, Rolen, Sanders, or Molina) and with John Smoltz is on the mound, can they beat the Cards at all?

The Braves were crippled too, as Chipper was held out. And Bobby for some reason is platooning his catchers now, starting Estrada against lefties even though he can’t hit righthanded and Smoltz likes to throw to McCann. Don’t ask me. Smoltz didn’t have his A game, for whatever reason, and allowed five runs in six innings and gave up two homers. He did strike out six.

Whatever slim chance there was of a comeback got slimmer when Jim Brower came in and gave up a homer to the legendary So Taguchi (He’s So Taguchi!) to make it 6-1. McBride came in to pitch the seventh and had a horrific outing, allowing five runs, four of them earned, in 2/3 of an inning. He was so bad that Kolb had to bail him out.

The Braves got only one run until the ninth, even with ten hits and four walks. Estrada’s 0-3 with a GIDP didn’t help any. Andruw left the game after fouling two pitches off his foot; hopefully he will be okay. Marcus, Francoeur, and Betemit had two hits each.

Tomorrow is a day game on Fox, hooray, McCarver is sure to be there with Joe Buck, two guys with deep Cardinal connections so you know they’ll be fair. Hudson will face Jason Marquis, so get ready for fifty renditions of “How’d the Braves give up on this guy?” Phillies and Natspos lost, Marlins and Mets won. The Braves stay 4 1/2 up, but only 5 1/2 up on the Marlins, who are still the team I’m worried about.