Greg Maddux goes six innings, allowing six runs, including two homers… and was the Braves’ most effective pitcher after Jung Bong, who faced one batter. The Braves score ten runs and have 14 hits… and lose. Marcus Giles has a major-league record-tying four doubles… but strikes out going for his fifth with two runners in scoring position, perhaps costing the game. Roberto Hernandez, Ray King, and Kevin Gryboski all stink up Olympic Stadium… but continue to accrue major league service time.
Sometimes you have it too easy. If you have a big lead in the division, you don’t move to correct obvious flaws — like a bullpen where other than your closer, nobody has an ERA below four. It’s completely obvious to everyone that they aren’t getting it done. But when you’re ten games up, it’s not a pressing concern, and can afford to hope they get it straightened out. I’m sorry, but they can’t keep that up. The Braves have to make a move.
Anyway, the Braves scored four runs in the first and eight in the first five off of Tomo Ohka, and led 8-4 entering the sixth. Maddux seemed to be settling down, but all of the sudden allowed a two-run homer and it was 8-6. Time for the bullpen to open the seventh.
And King allows two hits and a walk, two runs in and a runner on, for Gryboski. Who gets an out on a bunt before giving up one of his patented shots right at him, which hit his shoulder but unfortunately not hard enough to knock his arm off. And the Expos take the lead. Jung Bong gets his man… And Bobby, inexplicably, goes to Boom-Boom. Who allows a two-run homer. After the Braves cut it to one in the top of the eighth, Boom-Boom allows another two-run homer. Why hasn’t he been released?
Wasted in all this were Marcus’ record effort, Robert Fick’s two homers, three hits and four runs scored by Furcal, and the Braves’ ten runs. The offense can’t keep up this pace, and even with it they’ve lost two of three. The bullpen must pay.
The Marlins and Phillies are tied in the ninth, and the way that series is going who knows what will happen?