Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

I don’t want them forget Ruth; I just want them to remember me. -Hank Aaron

19 Jun

Philadelphia 3, Atlanta 2

ESPN.com – MLB – Recap – Braves at Phillies – 06/19/2003

One of the dangers of a no-hitter is that if it’s a close game, the manager may leave his starter out there longer than he normally would. That may have happened today. Mike Hampton carried a no-no into the eighth before giving up back-to-back singles. Bobby then went to his relief ace, which I approve of, but Smoltz allowed a two-out single to tie the game. He then lost the game in the ninth. The worst part of this is that now Bobby may be less likely to use John before the ninth.

The Braves’ only runs came on two solo homers by Sheffield. They couldn’t get any other offense despite several chances. Of the Braves’ nine baserunners, seven (five hits and two walks) came from the first four hitters; Andruw (who is slumping badly), Fick, and Vinny were a collective 0-12. This is not a game the Braves should have lost.

This is all my fault, of course, for saying that I’d be happy with a 4-5 trip. I’m very sorry. However, the Braves did go on their hardest swing of the year and come back with everything basically the same. They lead the Expos by seven and the Phillies by nine, they have the best record in the NL, and the schedule over the next month is much easier. Of the next six series, four are against teams with losing records, one is the rematch with the Phillies in Atlanta, and the other is against the suddenly reeling Expos, also in Atlanta.

9 Responses to “Philadelphia 3, Atlanta 2”

  1. 1
    Troy Says:

    All true, Mac. For such a harsh loss to take (and poor Hampton, after such a great performance to get another ND), the Braves can’t really complain about the shape they’re in. Yes, they’ve lost 2 straight series, but both were to quality teams, and involving not only some nail-bitingly close games but some amazing pitching performances in losses.

    And their division lead is still the largest in baseball. So today maybe just teaches us that Smoltz isn’t invincible, we gotta keep that offense on its toes, and the Phillies may not be as lame as they might have seemed. I’m sure they feel like they can still make a run at us.

  2. 2
    Colin Says:

    One of the dangers of a no-hitter is that if it’s a close game, the manager may leave his starter out there longer than he normally would. That may have happened today

    I don’t think so. Yes, Cox let Hampton hit in the bottom of the seventh, but that’s a move cox will often make with a guy tossing a shutout, and a lead. Hampton had struggled against the first two batters of the sixth inning, but had breezed for the next five batters, including a seventh inning in which he threw only 10 pitches. His pitch count after 7 innings was 99. Heck, even the first hit of the 8th wasn’t a hard hit ball.

    I think that even if Hampton had given up 4 hits, he’d have still been out there for the 8th inning.

    Just a bad luck game at the end. The wild pitch was huge, unfortunately, and even the wild pitch didn’t roll that far away. Javy just looked in the wrong direction for it.

  3. 3
    Andrew Says:

    I don’t know how much this will effect Bobby’s use of Smoltz. I think Cox is probably going to look at it the same way I am.

    Smoltz struck out a great hitter in Abreu (made him look silly, actually), and retired a great hitter in Thome. Sandwhiched in between, he allowed a stupid little broken bat flare just over Fick’s head and just out of DeRo’s reach to Placido Polanco. Sometimes, the bat breaks and the ball falls in, and you can’t really blame anybody. That’s what happened here.

  4. 4
    Rob Cope Says:

    I agree. It make look bad in the box score, him having a blown save and all, but he gave up one hit. You can say that if Blanco had been out there, the wild pitch might not have occured, but with the production the Braves are getting from third base, you pretty much have to sacrifice inferior defense for superior hitting.

    Like I said, he gave up one hit. He gave up a broken bat flare that, if Fick had been playing back, he would have caught. I don’t even know why Fick wasn’t playing back, with it being two outs.

    This doesn’t make Smoltz less automatic. Tell me the last time people thought a pitcher was more hittable by giving up a peach single?

  5. 5
    Mac Thomason Says:

    That’s why I said may. I was able to listen to some of the game but couldn’t watch any. I should point out that Bobby pulled Ortiz after six innings with a similar pitch count Wednesday, and the game wasn’t even close then.

    I blame Skip, who was talking about the no-hitter again.

  6. 6
    Colin Says:

    Oh, I got the ‘may, part. just wanted to unload my reasoning. I’m thinking that if the score had been closer Wednesday that Cox would have left in Ortiz. Overall, Hampton was just pitching too well for Cox to pull him Thursday.

  7. 7
    Robert Says:

    I’ll take the responsability for blowing the no hitter. I was watching the game yesterday when my wife walked into the room and asked if she could change the channel for a minute. I said no and she asked why. I said “Because the Braves have a no-hitter going”. Which of course led her to ask “What’s a no-hitter?”. By the time I finished explaining, Hampton was headed to the showers.

    Why do we let Sheffield play so deep against non-power hitting right handed hitters anyway? Both the first and second hits off Hampton were soft liners to right that fell just in front of a charging Sheffield. Why is he playing so deep for Marlon Byrd and Tomas Perez? I asked that same thing in the Oakland series when Eric Byrnes dumped a two run flare in front of him. I guess he must not be comfortable going back on balls. I couldn’t help but think either one or both of those balls would have been caught if Brian Jordan still patrolled right field.

    Of course, with Jordan in right the game is still 0-0 anyway I guess.

  8. 8
    Creg Says:

    Although he does have a strong arm, Sheffield is simply an instinctively poor outfielder. He always seems to have trouble tracking the ball when its in the air. The deeper he plays, the better. On another team, he’d be in left.

  9. 9
    Rob Cope Says:

    I don’t understand why they automatically decided Chipper should have been moved to left. Being a third baseman, he does have a quick, short throwing motion and a strong arm, which would make him pretty good in right. And since Sheffield came over the same year as he moved to left, why not keep Sheffield where he was in LA, left, and have only one outfielder out of place. It really doesn’t make too much of a difference, because, if I’m not mistaken, he did play right field when he was with the Marlins. But this whole moving from right to left to right can’t be good on his instincts in the outfield. Though he might just be thinking of what clauses to put in his next contract while the ball’s in the air…

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