Well, back to normal, except for the uniforms. The Braves won 5-3, getting four early runs (two on a Chipper homer, giving him a mere 11 on the season) and holding on from there. Greg Maddux got the win, and lowered his ERA to 2.56. Given that, he was probably sharper in his last start, when he got a loss. He threw a season-high 100 pitches, 65 strikes, and had to leave with two out in the sixth. The Phillies got two runs in that inning; it should have been one, but Wes Helms made another error on a line drive at him. And yet, the Braves consider Helms the “defensive” first baseman. I just don’t get it.
The Braves left 12 runners on base, which seems to be happening a lot recently. Most of those were late in the game, when the Braves left ten in the last four innings, while getting only one run across. My feeling is that as long as we’re getting baserunners, it will work out in the end.
John Smoltz got save number 38, pitching a lights-out ninth inning — a flyout and two strikeouts. He was throwing 97-mph fastballs and 88-mph sliders, which is a pretty devastating combination… Gary Sheffield doubled in a run in the first, and the streak rolls on. Andruw left in the fifth, apparently with dizzy spells due to the heat. The homeplate umpire also had dizzy spells.
Kevin Gryboski went on the DL with a “sore elbow”, replaced by Darren Holmes. I’m not convinced of the injury. He hasn’t been pitching well lately, and that might be evidence of an injury, but it seems just as likely that he was simply disabled to get some rest and figure out what the problem is. And it’s also likely he won’t return — barring someone else’s injury or someone taking Albie off our hands — until roster expansion.