I think the Braves’ hitters are already on strike. Tom Glavine pitched well enough to win, if not as well as Greg Maddux did last night. Same result, though, a 4-1 loss, and the one run was unearned. The Braves did have eight hits and fourteen total baserunners. Generally I figure if you have that many people on base you’ll score some runs eventually, but they’re testing my faith.
Still no Sheffield, but no Vinny either! Marcus Giles finally got to play against his brother, playing third base. He had a hit and a walk, but I just know that it won’t matter whenever they play again and Vinny (who did pinch-“hit”) will be back at third. After all, the Braves used Marcus, and they didn’t win, so they might as well go back to the Sucking Vortex again.
I didn’t watch the game (I have to work sometimes!) but apparently (according to W Diehl in the comments) Skip and Joe asked whether there had ever been a more diminutive third baseman. That’s a woeful grasp of baseball history. Third base has never been the dominion of giants anyway, and a lot of third basemen have been shorter, lighter, or both than Marcus (listed at 5-8, 180 — he might be an inch shorter, but he’s probably a little heavier than that). John McGraw is in the Hall of Fame for his managing, but he was a heck of a player too, really the first great player at the position. He’s listed at 5-7, 155. The first Hall of Fame third baseman to get in as a player was Jimmy Collins. Collins is listed at basically Marcus’ size, 5-9, 178. Marcus’ current hitting coach was a 5-9, 180 lb (at least when he came up!) third baseman.
Height really isn’t a big deal at third base. Agility is more important. You’re a lot better off with a little guy who’s a good athlete than some sort of hulk who can’t get out of his own way.
So Greg Maddux goes out there and has probably his best start of the season, going nine innings without giving up a run. But the Braves can’t score a run themselves, looking totally helpless against Brian Meadows, of all people. And then their best reliever, Mike Remlinger, loses the game in the tenth. Really pathetic.
Gary Sheffield is in Atlanta to get his thumb checked on. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him head on over to Birmingham afterward to see Dr. Andrews. He needed surgery on the same thumb back in ’95. From what I can tell, he’s likely to need to rest it for about two weeks. Since everyone might get the next few weeks off… If there isn’t a strike, he’d probably have to go on the DL. I don’t know who the Braves would call up. Bo Porter is probably Richmond’s best outfielder, but he doesn’t have a corner outfielder’s power.
Vinny still sucks, but you knew that. He was 0-4 with a strikeout. Rafael Furcal was the goat, though, striking out with the bases loaded and two out in the ninth, on a 3-2 pitch after being ahead in the count, capping off an 0-5 day. But I’m going to blame Vinny for that anyway, because it feels good… Keith Lockhart, who is getting way too little abuse around here because of Vinny’s general awfulness, had a hit but also made — I say this without hyperbole — the worst throw in the history of baseball. Luckily it was only a one-base error… Henry Blanco is back from the DL, and I never thought I’d say this, but thank God. Blanco isn’t much, but at least he does a convincing impression of a professional baseball player, something Steve Torrealba was never able to do.
There are three possibilities for what happens after today’s game:
1. Strike at midnight.
2. No settlement but the strike is put off for another week.
I think there will be a strike, and it will last 7-10 days, with all games made up at the end of the season. That’s a guess, but it follows what most of the experts seem to think. The two sides really aren’t that far apart. The Braves could use a week off, as I’ve said.