Told you they were punchless. The Dodgers had only four hits on the night (but six walks), two against Greg Maddux. There was a hour-plus rain delay after the second inning, and Greg was limited to five innings. After getting into some trouble in the first (Rafael Furcal’s error loaded the bases) he pitched extremely well. Maddux came back after a rain delay to pitch two good innings on July 5. I don’t know if it means anything. But today, five innings, two hits, no runs (of course), two walks (both by Shawn Green), and four strikeouts. It’s frustrating. Maddux keeps alternating these great, Maddux-like outings with Shane Reynolds efforts. On the other hand, he had quality starts in four consecutive outings before the disaster in Montreal last time out, and would have had one today but for the rain-shortened outing.
Andruw hit a second-inning solo homer to give the Braves the lead, but left after the fourth after re-injuring the muscles on his right side. Darren Bragg played center the rest of the way and probably will play tomorrow. Fick drove in the other run as the next batter, doubling home Chipper.
And then it was the bullpen. I guess Darren Holmes was unavailable. Ray King loaded the bases in the sixth but got out of it, and pitched a perfect seventh. Inexplicably, Bobby gave Boom-Boom Hernandez another chance in the eighth. After getting one out, Hernandez loaded the bases on a double and two walks. Gyrboski came on and went 3-1 on Adrian Beltre, but the umpire gave him a break, calling ball four a strike, and Beltre hit into a double play on the next pitch. So Gryboski will have lots of more chances to walk in a run. After the game situation, Bobby used Smoltz in the “save” situation. It’s absolutely insane to leave your best reliever on the bench and let your worst pitch to the other team’s best hitters, then bring the good reliever in to pitch to the bottom of the order. But I vent.
Tomorrow’s game is a late afternoon Fox game, 4 ET/ 3 CT, or thereabouts. These Fox games always start fifteen minutes late so McCarver can get in as many words as possible… The Phillies won and the Marlins lost. The Phillies are still 10 1/2 out, but are 2 1/2 up in the wildcard. With the Diamondbacks and Dodgers failing, it’s very likely now that the Braves will play someone from the Central in the first round.