So, it is the seventh inning. The Braves trail 3-2. Brandon Beachy had given the Braves a quality start, and is still under eighty pitches, so Fredi sends him out to start the inning. Not too bad an idea, but Raul Ibanez leads off with a double. And then, Fredi forgets how to manage. He could have brought in O’Flaherty. Instead, he sends out George Sherrill, putative LOOGY, to pitch to Brian Schneider, a lefty batter who earlier hit a two-run homer to give the Phillies the lead.
Charlie Manuel hits for Schneider, his backup catcher, with a righty. Single, first and third. And Fredi lets Sherrill face another righthanded hitter, Wilson Valdez. (Mild defense: Manuel could have hit for Valdez.) Sherrill, who is a terrible, terrible pitcher, walks the bases loaded. Manuel has Carlos Ruiz, his starting catcher, pinch-hit, so it’s definitely a righty. Who does Fredi bring in? You would think Moylan.
No, Scott Linebrink. Who goes 0-2 to Ruiz and then gives up a grand slam. Ballgame. It’s the seventh inning of a one-run game. Why are you managing like it’s the fifth inning of a blowout? Linebrink allowed another run and Cristhian Martinez allowed two in long relief, but that’s just stat-puffing for the Phillies.
The Braves actually led 2-1 after three, when AAG doubled and came home on a Freeman single, and Prado singled in Freeman. The Schneider homer followed in the fourth. They didn’t do much else against Roy Oswalt until two out in the sixth, when Chipper singled and McCann and Uggla walked to load the bases, but Heyward broke his bat to pop up to end the threat.