You don’t want to count on him, but Keith Lockhart was huge today, hitting a three-run homer and later putting the icing on a 10-2 victory with an RBI single. The only Brave position player to not get a hit was Gary Sheffield, and he had three walks. Andruw had a hit, two walks, a run scored, and two RBI, and Vinny had a two-RBI hit to give the Braves a lead. The game was 1-1 through five when Vinny and Lockhart did their thing to break it open. They piled on for four more runs to put it out of reach in the ninth.
How exactly is a pitcher with a 3.23 ERA in postseason play some sort of failure? Yet that’s what people seem to think if Greg Maddux, because he hasn’t gotten run support. (Obviously, today he did.) He didn’t really pitch much better than in most of his postseason appearances today, but most of his postseason appearances have been good. He went six, struck out three, gave up five hits, a walk, and two runs. And needed 67 pitches to do it. Then the Hammond-Remlinger team took an inning apiece, and with the big lead Kevin Gryboski finished it in the Albie role.
The Braves really made Jason Schmidt work, and it paid off big-time. When he left with one out in the sixth, he’d already thrown 104 pitches. He wasn’t exceptionally wild, either. They just made him make great pitches to get outs (Maddux, for one, had a great at-bat against him in the fifth), and he was out of gas. He loaded the bases and the Castilla/Lockhart heroics were set up, though Schmidt was no longer around to see it.
It looks like an afternoon game tomorrow, with Glavine against our old friend Livan Hernandez. Unfortunately for Livan, Eric Gregg won’t be there to help him.