The Braves won the rubber game of the series with the Diamondbacks, 4-1, behind terrific pitching from Glavine — easily his best since his blister problem surfaced — and the hitting of righthanded platoon players, DeRosa and Julio Franco. DeRosa hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot in the fifth, to break up a scoreless tie. Later in the inning, Julio hit a two-run shot. Later, Franco doubled home Furcal to make it 4-0. Some people have been critical of Bobby’s platooning, but I like it. I’d rather Marcus Giles were playing second base everyday, but the first base platoon has been great.
Glavine took a shutout into the ninth, having not given up a hit since the third, when he gave up a solo homer to Junior Spivey. He came out of the game and John Smoltz entered, and John recorded three outs to set the team save record. He also became the fastest man to 40 saves in a season, and keeps his shot at the single-season record of 57. I don’t think he’ll get it, though. The Braves are 18 games up with 48 to go; if he has 51 or 52 saves when the Braves clinch, will Bobby keep sending him out there or will he move to a spring-type schedule of pitching every few days just to keep sharp? This assumes we even play out the season.
Back to the game… Every Braves starter got a hit except Sheffield, who was 0-5. Wes Helms had two hits and is up to .246/.290/.419, which is lousy but a lot better than Vinny Castilla’s .230/.263/.352. The Braves are still saying that when Castilla is healthy he will play third base, but that’s just nuts. If they are really saying you can’t lose your job to injury, why don’t they tell that to Marcus Giles? At any event, Castilla should have been benched for Helms before he got hurt.
The Braves will play three games with Houston, then take a day before hosting the Giants. Presumably Barry Bonds will have hit his 600th home run by then, but if he doesn’t we’ll at least be spared TBS cutting away from the game to see him hit.